PATNA: In a major jolt to Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, the party’s national vice-president Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha on Friday quit and joined Bihar’s ruling JD(U).
The development, coming eight days after Upendra Kushwaha joined the Opposition Grand Alliance after resigning from the Union cabinet, may further compound the crises the five-year-old party is facing. The two MLAs and one MLC the party has in Bihar have already approached the Election Commission of India claiming that theirs is the original party.
For Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha, who earlier headed JD(U)’s state youth wing and also served as the state’s rural development minister, it was a war homecoming. He joined the party led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in presence of its state president Bashistha Narayan Singh and education minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma. As many as 35 state-level office-bearers and 1200 workers of RLSP also joined JD(U) along with him.
“I am joining JD(U) to strengthen the hand of Nitish Kumar, who has put Bihar on the path of rapid development. I tried my best to dissuade Upendra Kushwaha from quitting NDA, but he quit. He had been feeling uneasy ever since Nitish Kumar returned to NDA last year,” said Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha. The JD(U) state president said Bhagwan’s return to JD(U) would further strengthen the party.
Describing next year’s Lok Sabha polls as a challenge for NDA and the Assembly polls in Bihar due in 2020 as a “much bigger challenge”, he said NDA would win both the polls. Prior to RLSP, Bhagwan was with Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party (JAP). Before that, he was in CPI(ML), RJD and JD(U).
RLSP national general secretary and chief spokesperson Madhaw Anand said Bhagwan’s exit would have no impact on the party. “All important functionaries of the party are strongly with Upendra Kushwaha. The party is known for Upendra Kushwaha. Those quitting RLSP are effectively ending their political careers,” he said.