Yesterday, in a major setback to the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) Chief Upendra Kushwaha, all the RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party) members in Bihar legislative assembly accused him of promoting personal interest by announcing a break up with the NDA coalition. According to media reports, Mr. Kushwaha is in close contact with Congress MP Ahmed Patel and may join the so-called “Mahagathbandhan” (The grand alliance).
Giving a further clarification on the matter, a rebel RLSP MLA Lalan Paswan said, “RLSP is ours. Sudhanshu Shekhar Ji (RLSP MLA) should be made a minister in NDA. We are in the NDA since the start. We want to make Narendra Modi the prime minister again in 2019. We’ve no relations with Upendra Kushwaha Ji now, he went with Mahagathbandhan.”
RLSP MLA Lalan Paswan: RLSP is ours. Sudhanshu Shekhar Ji (RLSP MLA) should be made a minister in NDA. We are in the NDA since the start. We want to make Narendra Modi the prime minister again in 2019. We've no relations with Upendra Kushwaha Ji now, he went with Mahagathbandhan pic.twitter.com/q9cQBCCUZD
— ANI (@ANI) December 15, 2018
In a joint press conference, both the RLSP MLAs — Sudhanshu Shekhar and Lalan Paswan-and party’s lone MLC Sanjiv Singh Shyam gave a statement. In the statement, they made it clear that they will approach the Election Commission to claim that they represent the real RLSP and have the full support of most of the workers of the party.
Earlier, Kushwaha had quit the NDA over the issue of seat sharing. He also accused PM Modi of betraying the OBC’s and giving only “jumlas” to Bihar. In his resignation letter to PM Modi, Upendra Kushwaha wrote, “I stand dejected, betrayed by your leadership. It’s unfortunate that the government’s priority is not to work for the poor but to fix political opponents.”
In the last Lok Sabha elections, RLSP won all the three seats riding on the Modi wave namely Sitamarhi, Karakat, and Jahanabad. However, in the Bihar state assembly elections, the RLSP contested 23 out of 243 seats as a part of NDA but managed to win just two seats. It shows the poor winnability of the party. Earlier this year, Arun Kumar, Jahanabad MP, and former RSLP leader had also left the party. Now, RLSP is left with two sitting MPs, Ram Kumar Sharma Kushwaha from Sitamarhi and Upendra Kushwaha himself from Karakat. So overall, his exit from the NDA appears to be a good riddance.
After JD (U)’s return to NDA, Kushwaha’s political capital has been taken care of by CM Nitish Kumar. In fact, Kushwaha himself is an ex-JD (U) leader. After being expelled from the party, he floated his own outfit in 2013 and joined the NDA while Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) went out of the BJP led NDA alliance. Moreover, the NDA that required Kushwaha in 2014, does not require him politically and electorally in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and that’s why NDA seems to have refused to give RLSP more than two seats despite long negotiations.
Bihar sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha. According to reports, the BJP-JD (U) alliance is likely to contest on 34 seats each and Paswan’s LJP may get six seats after the exit of RLSP from the NDA. Speculations are rife that Upendra Kushwaha is set to join hands with the Mahagathbandhan. It would be interesting to see, what would be the Mahagathbandhan’s seat-sharing arrangement after Kushwaha becomes a part of it.