At loggerheads with the BJP over seat-sharing for upcoming general elections, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha Monday 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.
Kushwaha accused the BJP of following the agenda of the RSS and neglecting the cause of social justice. “The government has been toeing the agenda of RSS which is anti-constitutional and neglecting and subverting the agenda of social justice enshrined in the Constitution for which we have supported NDA,” he said in the letter.
In a press conference he held later, Kushwaha said his party the ‘Rashtriya Lok Samta Party’ will no longer be a part of the NDA and that “other options are open.” The RLSP chief is likely to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi later in the day.
“After observing everything I feel I shouldn’t have stayed in the cabinet even for a minute to implement RSS agenda,” he said today. Kushwaha alleged the BJP, together with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, insulted him and attempted to sabotage his party. “Nitish ji ke saath khade huye BJP ke log,aur mera apmaan shuru ho gaya. Nitish ji ne saarvjanik roop se mujhe neech keh ke sambodhit kiya. (BJP stood with Nitish ji and insulted me. Nitish ji addressed me as ‘neech’), he said.
Kushwaha also declined the BJP’s invitation to attend an NDA allies’ meet scheduled for later in the day. He is expected to join a new alliance along with the Congress, RJD and Sharad Yadav’s newly formed Loktantrik Janshakti Party.
“My conscience doesn’t permit me to be a part of a government that has failed to fulfil its promises and betrayed the aspirations of our founding fathers of the Constitution,” he said.
The first signs of a rift between Kushwaha and BJP emerged after party chief Amit Shah, in a joint press conference with JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, in October announced that both parties would contest an equal number of seats in 2019 elections and smaller allies would have to take a cut in their share to accommodate the new partner.
Hours after the announcement, Kushwaha created a stir with his “unscheduled meet” with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav at Arwal in Bihar. Earlier too, he had hinted that all was not well within the ruling coalition with his “kheer” remark. “One can prepare kheer with milk from the Yadavs and rice from the Kushwahas,” he had said.