Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) joined the UPA Thursday, becoming part of a grand alliance in Bihar. Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP had pulled out of the NDA on December 10 after disagreements over seat sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The former Union minister joined the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) after holding talks with the Congress leadership. Kushwaha said the main reason behind him quitting the NDA was the failure of the Modi government to fulfil the promises made to the people of Bihar, besides the “insult” he suffered within the NDA. He said an “aakrosh march” will be taken out in Patna on February 2 in which various like-minded parties would participate.
“We had said that we have many options and UPA was one of them. The wholeheartedness shown by Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav is one of the reasons I joined but the biggest reason I’m here is the people of Bihar,” ANI quoted him as saying.
Kushwaha announced his decision at the AICC headquarters in Delhi in the presence of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, AICC state in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav and opposition leader Sharad Yadav.
Welcoming Kushwaha to the UPA fold, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said: “There is a gathbandhan in Bihar, it’s a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining the mahagathbandhan.” Sources said Kushwaha has been offered four or five seats to contest in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Kushwaha’s joining the UPA is likely to give a boost to the formation of a grand alliance in Bihar to counter the NDA combine of Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal(U)-Lok Janshakti Party. The Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) are already part of the UPA in Bihar and are seeking to give a fight to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The saffron alliance had swept the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, winning 31 of the state’s 40 seats.
Kushwaha had quit from his post as Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development and walked out of the NDA alliance in Bihar and at the Centre. In his resignation letter sent to Narendra Modi, Kushwaha said he felt “dejected, betrayed” by the Prime Minister’s leadership.
(Inputs from PTI)