PATNA: Talks of discontent within the NDA in Bihar were fuelled today when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP and no one from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) attended an Iftar party hosted by the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).
The incident prompted RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to ask RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha to switch sides and join the alliance led by his party as the latter was "neglected" in the NDA for the last four years.
Kushwaha, however, turned down the invitation and asserted that he was in the NDA and working to make Narendra Modi the prime minister again after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
RLSP spokesman Abhyanand Suman said the invitation for the Iftar party was sent to the offices of all the NDA constituents in Bihar -- the JD(U), the BJP and the LJP.
State BJP chief Nityanand Rai and his deputy Davesh Kumar turned up at the venue, but none from the JD(U) and the LJP was seen.
"I extend invitation to Union minister Upendra Kushwaha to join the RJD-led alliance. He has been neglected in the NDA for the last four years. The BJP, in collusion with Nitish Kumar's party (JD-U), tried to effect a split in Kushwaha's party," Yadav said at a programme here.
Kushwaha, the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, represented the Kushwahas/Koeris, but none from the community was made a cabinet minister in the Modi government, while there were about a dozen cabinet ministers from one particular caste, Yadav said, without elaborating.
The BJP never gave due importance to Kushwaha, who belonged to a backward community, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly alleged.
He said Kushwaha would have to make a choice between two philosophies -- one that followed Godse-Golwalkar and the other that followed Gandhi-Ambedkar.
Talking to reporters at the Iftar party, Kushwaha, however, did not give much credence to Tejashwi's invitation.
"The support base of Tejashwi has slipped and that is why he is making such assertions to regain it. His words have no meaning for me," he said.
Making Modi the prime minister again in 2019 was in the interest of the country, Kushwaha added.
Asked if he would remain in the NDA, the RLSP chief said, "If we have to make Narendra Modi the prime minister, where would we stand?" There were talks of discontent in the NDA after Kushwaha excused himself from a get-together of the coalition at Patna on Thursday.
The RLSP had also taken exception to the JD(U) advocating itself as the "elder brother" in the NDA in Bihar -- a hint that it wanted the maximum number of seats in the state among the constituents of the BJP-led coalition in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Kushwaha said he could not make it to the NDA get-together due to personal reasons and had informed Rai and Sushil Modi about it.