More than BJP, Kushwaha was miffed with Nitish

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and Union minister of state for human resource development, Upendra Kushwaha addresses a press conference to announce his resignation from the Union Council of Ministers, at his residence in New Delhi, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (PTI Photo)

“Yachna nahi, ab rann hoga. Sangharsh bada bheeshan hoga.” Translated, the poem means: “Now, no more plea. Time to wage war. The battle will be fierce.”

Upendra Kushwaha quoted eminent poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar last week while concluding his ‘chintan shivir’ (brainstorming meet) at Bihar’s Champaran where the party authorised him to take a call on alliance with the NDA.

On Monday, Kushwaha quit NDA, resigned as Union minister and charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with not fulfilling his 2014 poll promises. But more than that, he trained his gun towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with whom he has a running feud since 2013.

Around five years back, Nitish had expelled Kushwaha from the Janata Dal (United) for anti-party activities. It was then that Kushwaha floated Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) on March 3, 2013, contested as NDA ally during 2014 parliamentary polls and eventually became a Union Minister in May 2014.

Kushwaha’s tie-up with the BJP was a smooth affair. Till Nitish dumped the Grand Alliance and re-joined NDA in July 2017. The fresh political realignment virtually sealed Kushwaha’s fate in the NDA as the BJP treated Nitish as a “big catch” compared to Kushwaha, who was yet to prove his firm grip over the second most populous OBCs - Kushwahas.

Besides, when Nitish inducted BJP men into his Cabinet in July 2017, he also inducted LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan’s younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras into his ministry. Paras was then neither an MLA or MLC but he was still made a minister. However, Upendra Kushwaha was given a shabby treatment as Nitish never ever offered RLSP to be part of his Government although just like the BJP and LJP, the RLSP was also part of the NDA in Bihar.

The first sign of drifting apart (from NDA) was visible when Kushwaha formed a human chain in Bihar early this year to protest poor education system in the State. Not one ally from the NDA joined him. It was then that the leaders from Grand Alliance, mostly RJD leaders, joined Kushwaha’s human chain.

Last week, when Kushwaha, who was himself a junior HRD Minister at the Centre, blasted Nitish for appointing “such teachers who could not even write numerals ‘one to 100’ correctly and these teachers have created fake toppers,” it was the last straw.

“The fact is Nitish and Kushwaha represent the same social composition - Luv-Kush (read: Kurmis, Nitish’s castemen and Kushwahas, Upendra’s fellow castemen). Together, these two OBCs form a numerically strong group. The fight is who has a better hold over their constituency. And in the process, both Nitish and Kushwaha remain at loggerheads,” opined social scientist Ajay Kumar.

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More than BJP, Kushwaha was miffed with Nitish

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