Kushwaha's RLSP joins Oppn alliance

Kushwaha's RLSP joins Oppn alliance

The former Union minister joined the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) after holding talks with the Congress leadership. PTI photo

NEW DELHI: Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) has formally joined the grand alliance of the Opposition parties, vowing to rout out the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Kushwaha, former Union minister and the RLSP chief, announced his party's decision to join the 'mahagathbandhan (grand alliance)' at a joint press conference with the leaders of the alliance partners at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here on Thursday.

The joint press conference was addressed by senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel; RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav; former chief minister of Bihar and Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi; Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) chief Sharad Yadav, among others.

The RLSP's joining the rainbow alliance of the Opposition parties comes a day before Bihar chief minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar is scheduled to reach Delhi to hold discussions with the BJP on the sharing of seats for the Lok Sabha polls next year.

Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, another NDA partner, has also set the deadline of December 31 to settle the seat-sharing issue.

The RLSP had quit the NDA on December 10. Resigning as minister of state for human resource dvelopment, Kushwaha had said his party decided to quit the NDA as the Modi government was pursuing "unconstitutional and anti-OBC agenda" of the RSS.

Addressing the press conference, the RLSP chief expressed his "gratitude" to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, Sharad Yadav and other leaders of the 'Mahagathbandhan' partners for standing by him at a time when he and his party was "being humiliated" by the NDA.

"It seemed as if they were standing with their arms open there for me to protect my dignity when I was being insulted," he said.

Kushwaha said the Congress president's "kindness" was one of the reasons for him to join the 'Mahagathbandhan,' underlining that Congress waived the loans of the farmers immediately after forming government in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, just as Rahul had promised during his poll campaigns in the states.

"But the biggest reason for me and my party to desert the NDA and join 'mahagathbandhan' has been orders from the people of Bihar and that of those concerned about ensuring social justice to the other backward classes (OBCs), extremely backward classes (EBCs) and all other suppressed classes," he said.

Addressing the media, Tejashwi said the grand alliance was formed to dislodge the NDA from power under whom the "Constitution, institutions and the country" is under threat.

Shaktisinh Gohil, the AICC in-charge of political affairs in Bihar, said the seat-sharing formula will be soon be "amicably" decided by the alliance partners "without any trouble".

"This is an alliance of ideology. We have to work in the interest of Bihar and the country," he said.