Upendra Kushwaha (File | EPS)
PATNA: Union minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha on Friday dismissed reports about a seat-sharing formula of the NDA in Bihar and indicated that he would prefer to be with the ruling coalition.“No meeting of NDA constituents to discuss sharing of seats has taken place, so far. I will put forth my party’s demands when a meeting is held,” said Kushwaha, a day after an unofficial seat-sharing formula floated by the BJP was met with shock and disbelief by many RLSP leaders.
“There are some people in the NDA who do not want Narendra Modi to become the PM again. Such people are intentionally spreading rumours to trigger conflicts within NDA,” he said, regarding the reports about the RLSP offered only two seats.Even though Kushwaha declined to name anyone, RLSP leaders said he was referring to four senior leaders in the JD(U) and the BJP who did not want the RLSP as a part of the NDA.
Despite his strained relations with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Kushwaha said the NDA had strengthened after Nitish returned to the alliance last year. In July, Kushwaha had said Nitish should not be the NDA’s CM candidate in 2020.“We are the people who make ‘kheer’. We are not among those who day dream. We want to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister once again,” he said to a media query on RLSP’s plan on whether it would join hands with the RJD-led Grand Alliance.
Asserting that his “kheer” remark was utterly misconstrued “just like some blind men describing an elephant,” Kushwaha said the RLSP would launch social and political programmes ‘Paigam-e-Kheer’ from September 25 and ‘Dalit Atipichhra Adhikar Sammelan’ in October. “The ‘Paigam-e-Kheer’ programmes would be held in every district of Bihar with the participation of all communities and religions in order to spread the message of social harmony and justice for all.” With September 25 being the birth anniversary of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Deendayal Upadhyay, BJP leaders said the RLSP’s proposed programmes indicate Kushwaha’s plan to remain in the NDA.