PATNA: The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), a Bharatiya Janata Party ally, on Sunday decided to project its party chief and union Minister Upendra Kushwaha as chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls.
"RLSP in its executive committee meeting in Hajipur decided that Upendra Kushwaha would be its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Bihar polls," RLSP state president Arun Kumar said.
"The people of Bihar want to see Kushwaha as the next chief minister. Taking this view, the BJP-led NDA should project Kushwaha as the chief minister candidate," Arun Kumar, the MP from the Jehanabad constituency, said.
Soon after the RLSP's decision, the BJP leaders made it clear that only their party could decide the leader for the top post.
BJP MP Ashwani Kumar Choubey said the chief ministerial candidate would be only from his party. "There is no if and but about it."
Another BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member, C.P.Thakur said the BJP is leading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the candidate for the top post in Bihar would be from his party.
Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the BJP's parliamentary board will decide the name of the chief ministerial candidate.
Last week, the RLSP demanded that Kushwaha should be declared the alliance's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming polls to the Bihar assembly.
Another BJP ally, the Lok Janshakti Party last week announced that its chief Ram Vilas Paswan would not be the NDA's chief ministerial candidate in Bihar.
Chirag Paswan, chairman of the Lok Janshakti Party's parliamentary board, said no leader from the LJP would be the chief ministerial candidate.
Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has announced that he would join the NDA in the state, said he was not in the race for the top job and only a BJP leader could be the candidate.
In the caste-ridden politics of the state, there are over half a dozen BJP leaders from the upper castes and the backward castes who have staked their claim for being nominated as the chief ministerial candidate.