PATNA: Disgruntled Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Saturday mounted a veiled attack on BJP for ignoring his demand for more than three seats to contest in next year’s Lok Sabha polls amid speculations that he is preparing to quit NDA and resign from the Union cabinet in a week.
With his ultimatum of November 30 for BJP to settle NDA’s seat-sharing scheme for Bihar having expired without a word from the national party, an apparently resentful Kushwaha said his party would decide its next course of action at a conference in Motihari on December 6. RLSP sources said the regional party led by the Union minister of state for human resources plans to walk out of NDA before parliament’s winter session begins on December 11.
Kushwaha, who has been feeling marginalised in NDA after BJP and its main Bihar ally JD(U) decided last month to contest on 17 seats each, failed to meet either BJP chief Amit Shah or Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi despite having sought an appointment from both. He returned to Patna on Friday evening after camping in New Delhi for five days.
“Only they (Shah and Modi) can answer why I was not given time for a meeting. But I can describe this situation in the words of the poet Dinkar: ‘Jab nash manushya par chhata hai, toh vivek mar jaata hai’. (Conscience dies when man is seized by destructive tendencies.),” he told reporters. He has earlier suggested that NDA would suffer losses in the LS polls if its smaller allies walk out.
The RLSP chief said he tried twice to meet Shah to discuss the seat-sharing issue and even waited for a meeting with him on Friday, but in vain. RLSP leaders said BJP was deliberately ignoring Kushwaha under pressure from JD(U) and forcing it to walk out, but BJP leaders maintained that the saffron party is keen to have RLSP in NDA.
“My party will take a decision (on the next step) after discussing it with all our leaders and workers at the three-day chintan shivir starting at Valmikinagar on December 4 and the open-house conference at Motihari on December 6,” said Kushwaha.
Although a formal seat-sharing formula for Bihar’s NDA is yet to be announced, indications have come that RLSP would get only two seats to contest against its demand for at least five. Bihar has 40 LS seats, and RLSP had won all the three seats it had contested in the 2014 LS polls, in which NDA had won 32 seats. JD(U), which had contested those polls on its own, had won just two seats.