The BJP has said that it has no knowledge of the ultimatum given by its ally, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), after its chief Upendra Kushwaha said that his party must receive a “respectable” number of seats to contest next year’s general elections.
On Saturday, Kushwaha had served the BJP with a deadline of November 30 to increase the number of seats offered from two.
However, the BJP has said it is under no pressure, and is sticking to president Amit Shah’s formula of all allies making sacrifices to accommodate JD(U), which joined the NDA in July 2017.
Bihar BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, who was in Patna Sunday, said, “I have no knowledge of any deadline set by RLSP on seat-sharing. I have had two rounds of talks with him (Kushwaha) in a cordial atmosphere. We are not under any pressure to announce NDA seat-sharing.”
Kushwaha and senior BJP leader and Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi have recently taken digs at each other on Twitter.
Tweeting in Hindi, Kushwaha said some people are “political sidekicks affected with hunger for publicity, opportunist by attitude and power hungry”. He wrote that they “suck blood like mosquitoes and spread dengue and malaria in their own party” but “manage to survive”. His tweet was perhaps referring to Modi’s recent defence of Nitish Kumar, after the RLSP chief had said that the Bihar CM called him “neech” (low bred).
Kushwaha also dared Modi to say something on the multi-crore Srijan scam — Nitish had come to power in Bihar, riding on an anti-corruption agenda.
In response, Modi, not naming the RLSP chief, tweeted that some people “have great illusions about themselves”.
Another BJP leader said that since Kushwaha did not prove his worth in 2015 Assembly polls, when RLSP won only two out of 23 seats contested, the RLSP did not have “anything to show its worth so far”.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav has again extended a welcome to Kushwaha to join the Grand Alliance. What is holding back Kushwaha, however, is a clear division among his party’s top leadership on quitting the NDA. RLSP Sitamarhi MP Ramkumar Sharma and party national vice president Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha want to stay with the NDA, while senior leader Nagmani and some others are willing to cross over to the Grand Alliance.