NDA in Bihar – The fight within continues

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November 12, 2018

Bihar: JD(U) meets his MLAs, BJP stays mum, Upendra Kushwaha heads for split

The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief, Upendra Kushwaha quit JD(U) in 2013 and announced his own outfit. He had joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at a time when Kumar had called off its ties with the BJP. Today, he is one of the Ministers in PM Modi’s cabinet at the Center.

The fight between NDA allies JD(U) and RLSP took a turn for the worse yesterday, with two MLAs of the RLSP reportedly offering to join the JD(U). 

Meet RLSP MLAs:

– Sudhanshu Shekhar- from Harlakhi (Madhubani), 
– Lalan Paswan- from Chenari (Rohtas). 

Both have met top JD(U) leaders including its national vice-president Prashant Kishor.
Both have reportedly been offered a ministerial berth and the Sasaram parliamentary seat respectively.

Sasaram Lok Sabha seat- not far from Chenari (Rohtas) – presently represented by former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, daughter of late Jagjivan Ram:  the most likely nominee of the Congress. 

The JD(U) has hinted at a Cabinet expansion in near future, which could help accommodate Shekhar. The JD(U) reportedly considers Lalan Paswan just the right candidate for Sasaram LS seat.

RLSP And JD(U)


RLSP MLA Shekhar’s proximity to the JD(U) has been earlier seen when JD(U) did not put up a candidate against him in the Harlakhi bypoll, ensuring his win from his late father’s seat. 

RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha said, “I am seeking time to meet Amit Shah and I intend to raise both the issues- seat sharing as well as the humiliation by Nitish Kumar. I will also speak to LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. ”  The LJP is also an NDA ally in Bihar.

Kushwaha has been reasserting that his party has an agreement only with the BJP and not with the JD(U). The JD(U) and RLSP share a similar social mass base. Kushwaha, a former JD(U) leader himself, has been openly critical of JD(U) president Nitish Kumar. He said, “Nitish Kumar had an expertise in breaking away MLAs and had come after his party after having earlier split the BSP, RJD and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Nitish Kumar should know that just as taking and demanding dowry is a crime, poaching MLAs is as much a crime.”

Kushwaha is also unhappy with Nitish Kumar over his alleged “neech” remark during a TV programme about a week ago.

BJP’s Stand.

The RLSP leader hopes that an intervention from Shah would help in clearing the “confusion” over seat-sharing between the two parties who are the constituent members of the BJP led NDA at the centre.
BJP sources, however, said Shah’s office was yet to grant Kushwaha the appointment. With the BJP showing little of intervening, the RLSP is expected to walk out of the NDA in December first week. 

Since the JD(U) and RLSP have a similar vote share pattern, Kushwaha has been under pressure in the NDA since Nitish Kumar’s return to the alliance in 2016. Nitish’s long time ally, Sharad Yadav, too, broke away then. Today, both the leaders, Sharad and Umesh, have come closer revealing that RLSP is willing to break away from NDA. 

The BJP reportedly offered the RLSP two Lok Sabha seats for the 2019 election, but Kushwaha is not willing to settle for anything less than four seats.

RLSP spokesperson Jitendra Nath said: “The nefarious bid of the JD(U) to wean away our MLAs shows Nitish Kumar is afraid of the growing influence of the RLSP at the cost of the JD(U)’s core votes. Our MLAs have been lured away. Everyone is watching the unethical game the JD(U) chief has mastered. Its repercussions will be seen. If the BJP keeps looking the other away, the RLSP may not wait even till December to break away from the NDA, said sources. Kushwaha has kept backchannels open with the RJD, and sources in the Lalu Prasad-led party confirmed that the talks were at a final stage and it was “a matter of time” before the RLSP became a partner in the Mahagathbandhan.”

In reply, a senior JD(U) leader said, “When Upendra Kushwaha is not able to retain his MLAs, how can he claim support of the people?” while confirming that both Shekhar and Paswan could join JD(U) soon and may be adequately rewarded.

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