PATNA: RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha on Friday raised the hackles of both BJP and JD(U) by insisting that his party must get more than three seats as per its “enhanced strength” even as Bihar’s two main NDA parties plan to allot it only two seats for next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Turning the matters particularly unsavoury for JD(U), he also demanded that Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar should withdraw some words he uttered at a public event recently. Kushwaha, currently the Union minister of state for HRD, also said his party’s alliance is with BJP and not with JD(U), which entered NDA last year after a four-year gap.
“I have made it clear that my party would contest on more than three seats. We had contested on three seats in 2014 and won them all. Now my party has an enhanced strength in Bihar,” said Kushwaha. “There is no significance in they (BJP and JD-U) saying they would contest on an equal number of seats. Let BJP and JD(U) contest on five seats each and the rest can be divided between RLSP and LJP. It is also an equal scheme,” he added.
Kushwaha appeared peeved at both JD(U) and BJP as he said he was “described as lowly and my party was deprived of partnership”. He was referring to denial of a cabinet berth to RLSP (the party has two MLAs) in Bihar when JD(U) and BJP formed the government in July 2017.
“It is unfortunate that the person I consider my elder brother has used the word “lowly” for me,” he said, adding: “The chief minister should withdraw his statement. I have urged BJP to facilitate this because my party’s alliance was, and remains, with BJP and not with JD(U)”.
Going a step further on Kumar’s controversial statement, Kushwaha said RLSP would observe anti-caste social activist Jyotiba Phule’s death anniversary on November 28 as “Oonch-neech mansikta virodhi divas” (Day against the mentality of high and low) across Bihar.
JD(U) claimed that Nitish Kumar’s words were “willfully misconstrued” for political gains. “The word being discussed is not in Nitish Kumar’s dictionary. But some people are in the habit of making a political issue out of non-issues. People in Bihar have been taking Nitish Kumar’s name for political gains for the past 25 years,” JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok.