RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha does not want Nitish Kumar as NDA's next CM candidate in Bihar; JD(U) hits back
RLSP being an NDA partner, Kushwaha’s statement indicated that all is not well in the alliance in Bihar despite the rosy picture painted after the recent visit to the state by BJP president Amit Shah.
PATNA: Conflicts within Bihar’s ruling NDA surfaced yet again on Wednesday when RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha made it clear that he did not want Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of JD(U) to be projected as the alliance’s next CM candidate for the 2020 Assembly polls.
RLSP being an NDA partner, Kushwaha’s statement indicated that all is not well in the alliance in Bihar despite the rosy picture painted after the recent visit to the state by BJP president Amit Shah. Just when the debate over who would be the alliance’s face in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state-Nitish or PM Narendra Modi-looked like settling down in Kumar’s favour, Kushwaha’s statement has muddied the waters again.
“Bihar's people have given him (Nitish) the opportunity for almost 15 years. He should now stand aside and give the opportunity to some other leader,” Kushwaha said in an interview to a local news channel. “I personally think he should spontaneously stand aside. He should engage in some bigger politics,” he added.
Kushwaha’s chief ministerial ambitions are well known. In RLSP’s programmes in recent months, several leaders of the party have projected him as next CM. The RLSP currently has two MPs and one MLA, but Kushwaha, a friend-turned-rival of Nitish, has reportedly sought more seats than the JD(U) in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Livid JD(U) leaders ridiculed Kushwaha’s party as an insignificant NDA ally. “Nitish was elected by the people of Bihar three times. We do not need a certificate from any party or leader,” said JD(U) national general secretary KC Tyagi. “He (Kushwaha) is the leader of the smallest NDA ally, and that too of a faction of that party. JD(U) is NDA’s biggest ally in Bihar. It hardly matters what he says.”
Tyagi asserted that Nitish was "indispensable for JD(U) and Bihar”.
BJP leader and labour minister Vijay Kumar Sinha said, “It may be his (Kushwaha’s) personal opinion. Nitish Kumar is the chief minister and NDA stands united in Bihar.”