Upendra Kushwaha quits JD(U), floats new party Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal

Kushwaha accused Bihar CM Nitish Kumar of having "pawned" his political capital, and expressed anguish over having declared Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD as the future leader.

Published: 20th February 2023 02:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2023 06:49 PM   |  A+A-

Upendra Kushwaha

Janta Dal (United) National Parliamentry Board President Upendra Kushwaha addresses a press conference, in Patna, on 20 Feb 2023. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

PATNA: Disgruntled Janata Dal (United) leader Upendra Kushwaha on Monday announced that he was exiting the party. He announced the launch of a new party - Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal. 

Kushwaha has been nominated national president of the newly-floated party, which will carry on the political legacy of socialist icon late Karpoori Thakur. 

Making the announcement at a press conference following a two-day JD(U) workers meeting called by him, Kushwaha, who is also the JD(U)'s Parliamentary Board chairperson, said he would seek an appointment with the chairman of the Bihar legislative council to give up his membership of the House. "I will tender my resignation as soon as the appointment is fixed,” he said, adding "zameer bechkar amir nahin banenge' (I cannot barter my conscience for perks)."

Kushwaha held Nitish Kumar responsible for weakening the JD(U) which was formed with the sole objective to carry on the political legacy of the late Karpoori Thakur following its split from the Janata Dal. He claimed that initially, Nitish worked well and revived Bihar from the morass of Lalu's RJD rule. “Bihar moved on a development path under the leadership of Nitish Kumar when he was made the chief minister in 2005 with the blessing of the people of the state,” Kushwaha said, adding that Nitish later deviated and started dancing to the tune of some leaders, who were part of his coterie.

“JD(U) weakened after Nitish started taking decisions on suggestions of a selected group of leaders of the party,” Kushwaha asserted.

He alleged that Nitish never tried to appoint his political heir from persons who had lent their support during his struggle for 10-12 years after the split of the Janata Dal.

He also accused Nitish of adopting an indifferent attitude towards pushing leaders from the Luv-Kush (stands for the OBC Kurmi community and the OBC Kushwaha (Koeri) group respectively), the EBC (Economically Backward Classes), and Dalit communities. He said that he had joined the JD(U) after the 2020 assembly election on the initiative of Nitish and that he had also merged his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) with the JD(U). He clarified that the RLSP became non-existent after the merger. “I had returned to the JD(U) after sacrificing all that I had gained during my career as a politician,” Kuswaha added.

“I decided to float a new party after I felt that Nitish ji "pawned" ('girvi rakh diya') his political capital," he said while also expressing anguish over

Kushwaha said that the situation has become so bad that Nitish is looking for his political heir in his neighbour's party (the RJD) referring to the CM having declared Deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav of the RJD, whom he did not mention by name, as the future leader.

Nitish had announced earlier that a grand alliance or mahagathbandhan would contest the 2024 assembly elections under the leadership of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. 

On the issue of realigning with the BJP-led NDA, Kushwaha remarked: "I have learnt a few lessons from my big brother, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had resigned from his post citing differences with the RJD, only to form a new government (with the BJP) hours later."

Recently, Kushwaha had written an open letter to workers inviting them to meet to discuss the ‘existing situation' in JD(U). He alleged in the letter that the party was getting weakened due to internal factors.

Earlier, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had responded to Kushwaha's allegations thus: “I promoted Kushwaha by making him an MLA but he left the party. When he re-joined the party, I made him a Rajya Sabha member but he again left the party. Now he has returned to the party for the third time but I do not know what has happened in the last two months. I have been asking to talk to him but he is not doing so for reasons best known to him.”

Kuswaha had been striking notes of discord ever since the CM made it clear that he intended to have nobody, besides Yadav, as his deputy. This was followed, shortly afterwards, by a visit to Delhi of Kushwaha apparently for medical reasons, and photographs of lower-rung BJP leaders meeting him at hospital had gone viral on social media.

Kumar has since made it clear that Kushwaha had become a persona non grata, "free to go wherever he pleases, as soon as he wishes" while underscoring the "respect" the latter was given in the JD(U).

ALSO READ | Upendra Kushwaha is free to leave JD(U), says Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

(With inputs from Online desk and PTI)


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