Kushwaha meets Sharad Yadav, fuels speculation

Last Updated 12 November 2018, 09:30 IST

Giving a clear indication of emerging realignment of political forces in Bihar, Union Minister and NDA ally Upendra Kushwaha on Monday met rebel former JDU President Sharad Yadav and his party issued a stinging statement against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, announcing to burn his effigy.

On Sunday Kushwaha accused Nitish Kumar, who leads key NDA constituent JDU, of ‘having mastered the art of "causing defections" in other parties after the buzz that two of RLSP MLAs could join JDU.

Amid continued sparring, Kushwaha drove to the residence of Yadav for a breakfast meeting on Monday morning, where the two leaders closeted for quite some time.

Yadav after having broken off from Nitish Kumar’s JDU is playing a role in sewing up larger opposition unity against the BJP at centre and also against JDU-BJP alliance in Bihar.

DH has on Sunday reported that Kushwaha is in touch with Sharad Yadav and could desert the NDA ship.

Hours after the meeting between Yadav and Kushwaha, the latter’s party issued a press statement inviting journalists to cover “Nitish Kumar Ka Putla dahan (effigy burning) programme".

In the statement, the RSLP’s Delhi unit head Om Prakash asked Nitish Kumar to withdraw his words used against Kushwaha saying the former’s remarks were “highly objectionable”. He went on to say that Kushwaha community of not only Bihar but the entire nation is “hurt” and “insulted” with the alleged “neech” remarks of Nitish Kumar.

Participating in a conclave of a news channel, Kumar had earlier responding to a question regarding the differences between him and Kushwaha and the latter’s recent remarks against him had said “Baatchit ka star itna neeche mat giraiye (Don’t lower the bar for debate).”

Kushwaha and his supporters, however, said that Nitish Kumar insulted the Kushwaha leader by calling him “neech” (a lowly).

On Saturday Kushwaha’s supporters protested against Kumar in Patna during after which Kushwaha hit out at Kumar government for “lathi charging” his workers.

On Sunday when the buzz gained ground that two MLAs of Kushwaha’s party can join JDU, the Union Minister hit out at the Bihar Chief Minister alleging that latter was adept in ‘jod-tod (engineering defections)’.

The political row has kicked amidst yet to be finalized seat sharing talks for the 40 Lok Sabha seats Bihar. In the last Lok Sabha polls in which NDA had bagged 31 seats, BJP had won 22, LJP led by Ram Vilas Paswan 6 and RLSP headed by Kushwaha three.

HAM led by Jitan Ram Manjhi. Manjhi, which had joined the BJP later has already quit NDA and joined the Lalu Prasad-Congress alliance. Indications are that Kushwaha may also go the same way.

With Nitish Kumar back in NDA, political equations in the state have changed. Last month BJP chief Amit Shah and Nitish Kumar announced to contest an equal number of seats in Bihar in 2014 poll, creating discomfiture among allies like Paswan and Kushwaha.

This particularly incensed the latter, who has a history bitter relationship with Kumar. If the intensity of sparring between Kushwaha and Kumar show no immeidatel meltdown, a realignment is clearly on the cards in Bihar.

(Published 12 November 2018, 04:53 IST)

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