PATNA: Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) president Upendra Kushwaha has demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should allot more than three seats to his party for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the party has grown in strength.
Kushwaha told reporters on Friday, "We fought in three seats previously (in 2014) and we won. Our party has grown in significant strength as compared to what it was in 2014. Now, we want to contest in more than three seats."
In 2014 general elections, RLSP contested from three seats, Jahanabad, Sitamarhi and Karakat constituencies, and it won all the seats.
Kushwaha's statement comes after BJP president Amit Shah divulged last month saying, "It has been decided that BJP and JD(U) will fight on an equal number of seats for Lok Sabha elections 2019 in Bihar. Other allies will also get a respectable seat share. Numbers will be announced in a few days."
The RLSP president assured that his party would continue to maintain its alliance with the BJP and Lok Janashakti Party (LJP).
Commenting on the seat-sharing talks with the Janata Dal (United), Kushwaha condemned Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's comments in which Kumar reportedly had called him 'neech' (low) or 'nichle astar' (low level).
He further stated that unless he was "absolutely convinced" on Nitish's explanation of his remarks, talks over the seat-sharing issue would not go ahead.
"He called me 'neech'. I am hurt and totally disappointed. A man like Nitish Kumar, who is the chief minister and whom I consider as my elder brother, this is such a sad thing. He should take back his statement. (BJP president) Amit Shah should take note of this and the reason should be ascertained as to why he called me that. A meeting should be held between me and Nitish, and if I am absolutely convinced, then talks would surely happen," Kushwaha elaborated.
Last week, when Nitish was asked about the seat-sharing issue with reference to RLSP, the Bihar chief minister reportedly said, "Don't take the debate to such a low level."
Quizzed on whether he could be the next chief minister of Bihar in 2020, Kushwaha replied that anyone could be a chief minister as per constitutional rules.
Asked whether he regarded Lalu Prasad and Nitish as a strong leader, the RLSP chief replied, "Lalu Yadav is history now. He is no longer in politics. Why are we talking about him? Everyone knows that he cannot contest elections legally. There is no question of comparison between him and Nitish. Lalu Yadav could be compared if he was there in politics."
Lalu's son Tejashwi Yadav is in "training period" in the political spectrum, he added.
Kushwaha said that for education reform in Bihar, special programmes would be organised in all district headquarters in the state on November 28, on the occasion of social activist Jyotiba Phule's death anniversary.