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NDA ally chief Upendra Kushwaha quits as minister, likely to join hands with RJD, Congress

Kushwaha had last month set a deadline of November 30 for the BJP to make its stand on seat sharing clear, saying ‘It would be very harmful for the NDA if a decision on seat-sharing is not taken soon’.

SNS | New Delhi |

In a much anticipated move, RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha quit the BJP-led NDA Monday, a day ahead of the start of the Winter Session and triggering a realignment of political equations in Bihar.

Kushwaha announced the decision after meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi this morning.

Addressing the media shortly after his resignation as Union Minister, Kushwaha said, “Narendra Modi ji couldn’t meet expectations of the people of Bihar. Nothing was done for special status. Bihar is still where it was earlier. Education and health system is non-existent. Nothing was done for Bihar”.

Earlier, the RSLP chief was quoted by news agency ANI as saying that he would not be attending a meeting of NDA allies to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi today.

The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief has been targeting the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a key ally of the ruling party, for weeks.

He has been upset with the BJP after it asserted that the RLSP would not be given more than two seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, even as it went out of way to accommodate Kumar by agreeing that the saffron party and the JD(U) would fight equal number of seats.

“Nearly five years ago I joined the National Democratic Alliance, under your leadership, with tremendous hope and expectations. During the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 you made several commitments to the people of Bihar and to the nation at large. It was in this context that I had extended my unconditional support to the BJP,” Kushwaha said in his resignation letter.

Kushwaha was the Minister of State for Human Resource Development at the Centre.

Kushwaha had last month set a deadline of November 30 for the BJP to make its stand on seat sharing clear, saying “It would be very harmful for the NDA if a decision on seat-sharing is not taken soon. We must get a respectful number of seats.”

The RLSP is expected to join hands with the opposition, which includes Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress.

Earlier last week, the Bihar leader had openly criticised the BJP over the Ram Mandir issue. Kushwaha slammed the BJP move to raise the issue of Ram temple construction at the election time and declared to oppose it tooth and nail.

Read | Upendra Kushwaha slams BJP over Ram Mandir, silent on split

Kushwaha alleged the BJP was raising the emotive issue of temple construction only to divert the people’s attention from real issues, such price rise, unemployment and poverty.

“Had their (BJP) intention fair, they would not have raked up the temple issue at the election time,” Kushwaha said while addressing the open session of his party on Thursday at the end of its three-day “Chintan Shivir” organised at Valmikinagar in West Champaran.

According to him, the chief minister has built up his new organsiation with the help of some “power-greedy ” BJP leaders, and declared to uproot the “inefficient” NDA government in the state.

He also launched virulent attacks on the chief minister for destroying the education system and failing to maintain law and order situation in the state. He alleged the present situation in Bihar is even worse than those witnessed during the previous RJD rule adding the CM doesn’t mention ‘sushasan’ in his speeches any more.
“Jispar bharosa kiya wo kamyab nahin hua. Rajniti mein kyun aaye lagta hai?” he said.

Most RLSP leaders were in favour of Kushwaha announcing the split.

According to reports, the party’s seat-sharing deal with the RJD is not sealed yet. They are also learnt to be trying to seek time from Congress president Rahul Gandhi to finalise a strategy.

Bihar sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha.