PATNA: In a jolt to Bihar’s Opposition Grand Alliance, two prominent leaders of the OBC Kushwaha community on Monday quit their respective parties – RJD and RLSP – and joined the ruling JD(U), saying they have faith in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s leadership for the state’s continued development.
RJD leader and former state education minister Birendra Prasad Kushwaha and RLSP’s youth wing national president Ram Pukar Singh accepted the primary membership of the Nitish Kumar-led party in presence of its state president Vashistha Narayan Singh.
“JD(U) has been strengthened further with these two leaders joining the party. Several leaders from some other parties are also in touch with us and want to join our party. They realise that the Opposition camp is a feckless group of parties and leaders,” said Vashistha Narayan Singh.
With Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) national vice-president and former state minister Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha having quit and joined JD(U) last month, Ram Pukar Singh’s departure is seen as a major setback to the five-year-old party led by former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha.
Both Ram Pukar Singh and Birendra Prasad Kushwaha, who served as a minister in Rabri Devi’s RJD-led government, are from East Champaran. The two leader’s departure is likely to dent the Grand Alliance’s hopes to make it big in East and West Champaran districts, said analysts.
The Kushwaha community, also known as Koeris, accounts for nearly nine per cent of Bihar’s electorate and is thus the second largest vote bank after the Yadavs, who account for nearly 15 per cent of the population.
“These exits will have no impact on the Grand Alliance. As far as RLSP is concerned, all important functionaries of the party are strongly with Upendra Kushwaha. Those quitting RLSP are committing political suicide,” said RLSP national general secretary and chief spokesperson Madhaw Anand.