Kushwaha set to desert NDA this week

Kushwaha set to desert NDA this week

RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha. PTI

Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) is likely to desert the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) this week.

Upset with the BJP’s offer of just two seats in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls next year, the RLSP chief on Friday evening reached Bihar to chair a two-day ‘chintan shivir’ at Valmiki Nagar in West Champaran district.

Speaking to reporters in Bihar, Kushwaha, when asked why either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP chief Amit Shah are yet to grant him an audience to discuss seat sharing issue, quoted a couplet from acclaimed Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh: “Jab Vinash manuj par chhata hai, vivek pahle mar jaata hai” (When a person is set to be doomed, he fails to see the reason).

Sources in the party said that the ‘chintan shivir’, beginning on December 5 when party leaders and workers will discuss the issue and decide the strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is a precursor to Kushwaha announcing that he is parting ways with the NDA, after aligning with it in February 2014.

The RLSP chief will announce the decision to quit the NDA on December 6, party sources told DH.

The party, which is already in touch with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar, is expected to contest the Lok Sabha polls in the rainbow alliance of Opposition parties - the RJD, Congress, Hindustan Awam Morcha and Loktantrik Janata Dal of Sharad Yadav’s supporters.

Kushwaha, who had till recently been expressing his willingness time and again to remain in the NDA fold, has now made up his mind to desert the BJP-led alliance as the saffron party did not pay heed to his repeated efforts of reaching out to party leaders and discuss his demand for a respectable seat sharing formula, an RLSP functionary said.

He was pitching for five seats in Bihar as the NDA partner, but the BJP did not budge from its offer of two seats.

Kushwaha’s persistent efforts to meet Shah and Modi to discuss the issue was met with no response from the BJP.

The Koiri community, to which Kushwaha comes from, constitutes 8% of the population in Bihar. If the RLSP joins hands with the RJD to contest the Lok Sabha polls, it will come as a shot in the arm for the Opposition as Koiris and Yadavs together make up 22% of votes - Yadavs constitute 14%.