Former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) which quit the BJP-NDA alliance on December 10, joined the
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Thursday to offer the prospective Opposition alliance in Bihar a boost before the Lok Sabha polls next year.
The junior HRD minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had recently resigned citing differences with both BJP-led central and state government, before formally announcing his decision to join the Congress-led alliance.
Following a dialogue with Congress leadership, Kushwaha joined the UPA comprising regional powers Rashtriya Janata Dal, former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) in Bihar, to take on the NDA combine.
What Kushwaha and the Congress said
At the press conference in Delhi, Kushwaha said, “The alliance of RLSP and other UPA constituents is not merely an electoral formula. It is a coming together of similar ideologies.”
“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 reported him as saying from the AICC headquarters on Thursday.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, AICC state in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil,
Bihar Congress president Madan Mohan Jha and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav were among those present along with opposition leader Sharad Yadav who is said to have offered the turncoat four to five seats to contest in the Lok Sabha elections. “There is a
Why did he quit?
This arrives on the heels of a bitter fallout between Kushwaha and NDA stalwarts earlier this month and the “insult” he suffered within the BJP-led alliance, referring to intense disagreements over their offer of seat share for the upcoming parliamentary elections. BJP reportedly reduced the number of seats allocated for RLSP from three (in the 2014 parliamentary polls) to two in the upcoming polls.
The saffron party was also accused of succumbing to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s pressure and promising the same number of seats to his JD(U) as itself. This left very few seats for smaller parties including Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which also expressed discontent with the existing seat share formula. Spokespersons of RLSP, meanwhile, informed NDA that their three-seat agenda was non-negotiable, which ultimately sealed the divorce.
However, Kushwaha formally pegged his withdrawal to the failure of the Modi government to fulfill electoral promises in the state.
What this means for the prospective opposition alliance
The saffron alliance had swept up 31 of the 40 seats in
Not losing a moment to take a jibe at longstanding political rival and CM Nitish Kumar, Kushwaha commented on how law and order have taken a massive hit under the current state
“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has failed to ably administer the state and should admit in front of Bihar’s people that he is incapable of handling the state anymore,” he reportedly said, just days after a BJP leader was found murdered in Vaishali this week.
The RLSP chief, like Kumar, rose from socialist grassroots movement, commands immense respect and support from his caste
Kushwaha, whose exit from the alliance follows that of Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM, also said that Kumar “wanted to destroy” him and his party. Sounding the clarion call for an “
Having received a warm welcome from the opposition, the withdrawal of Kushwaha’s RLSP marks a culminating point to BJP’s flawed seat share mechanism. A series of defections from the NDA such as this can prove instrumental to the grand Opposition alliance in the coming polls.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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