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RLSP most likely to merge with JD(U) on Sunday; Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expected to be present on the occasion

Sources from JD(U) told The Indian Express that Upendra Kushwaha could earn a very important position in JD(U) organisation.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: March 13, 2021 10:41:30 pm
Upendra KushwahaRLSP president Upendra Kushwaha had formed the party in 2013 and successfully contested three seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as an NDA constituent. (File photo)

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which is holding its two-day meet beginning Saturday, looks all set to merge with Janata Dal (United) Sunday. The merger is likely to take place at JD(U) office here in the presence of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and the party’s national president, RCP Singh.

RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha had formed the party in 2013 and successfully contested three seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as an NDA constituent. The party won two Assembly seats in 2015 polls as NDA partner but drew a blank in 2019 Lok Sabha polls as Grand Alliance constituent and 2020 Assembly polls as partner of another front.

Sources from JD(U) told The Indian Express that Upendra Kushwaha could earn a very important position in JD(U) organisation. Slots of party national general secretary, national vice-president or even a new position of parliamentary board chairman could be given to the Kushwaha leader.

JD (U) and RLSP take it as “win-win” situation with both needing each other to consolidate the core OBC constituency of Koer-Kurmi (known as Luv-Kush), forming about 10 per cent of the state population.

Kushwaha, who had started off as Lok Dal leader under former CM Karpoori Thakur, had become a favourite of Nitish Kumar and started writing his name as Upendra Kushwaha in place of Upendra Singh on the suggestion of Nitish Kumar. An ambitious Kushwaha, who had replaced BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly in 2004, fell out with Nitish in 2009, returned to JD (U) two years later, only to desert it in 2013.

JD(U), which was relegated to the third spot with 43 seats behind RJD (75) and BJP (74) in the last Assembly polls, realises the importance of Upendra Kushwaha as a consolidator of Kushwaha votes. Even in the face of electoral losses, RLSP got 5,000 to over 39,000 votes in at least 30 seats, denting JD (U)’s base vores in Magadh, Shahabad and North Bihar areas. Kushwaha is also being taken as future JD(U) leader even though RCP Singh is JD(U) national president.

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