Herald: Nitish adept at breaking parties: Kushwaha

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Nitish adept at breaking parties: Kushwaha

12 Nov 2018 06:22am IST
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12 Nov 2018 06:22am IST

PTI, Patna/New Delhi:  Union minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha Sunday attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over reports that two legislators of his party could join the JD(U), and said he would apprise BJP chief Amit Shah of the "humiliation" he had suffered at the hands of Kumar.

Kushwaha said he would request Shah to clear the "confusion" over seat-sharing among National Democratic Alliance constituents in the state at the earliest.

He made a jibe at Kumar, saying the JD(U) president is adept at breaking parties but he will continue his fight.

Kushwaha's barb at Kumar on Twitter came after his party's MLA Sudhanshu Shekhar met JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor, triggering speculation that he might switch sides.

Shekhar met Kishor at Kumar's official residence.

On Twitter, Kushwaha also shared media reports that speculated another MLA of his party, Lalan Paswan, might also switch sides.

"Rein in your people Nitish Kumar ji..! Nobody would believe that such a misdeed is taking place in your party without your consent," Kushwaha tweeted.

"You (Kumar) are adept at breaking parties," he said in another tweet and referred to past switchovers of RJD and Congress leaders to JD(U).

"Enticing members of a political party is a crime and highly immoral, just like giving or accepting dowry," he said.

The RLSP had won two seats in the 2015 Bihar Assembly election. Its other MLA, Paswan, had sided with a dissident group headed by Jehanabad MP Arun Kumar.

Shekhar has so far remained loyal to Kushwaha.

Before leaving for New Delhi, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief told reporters at Patna airport that he had sought an appointment with Shah.

Kushwaha said he had met Ram Vilas Paswan, the president of NDA constituent Lok Janshakti Party, earlier Sunday and Paswan concurred with his view that seat-sharing talks should be held at the earliest with all the coalition partners.

Kushwaha has been peeved since the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) decided to contest an equal number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Bihar, with the saffron party indicating that it cannot spare more than two seats for the RLSP.

It had contested and won three seats in 2014.

The state sends 40 members to the Lok Sabha.

Kushwaha, a former JD(U) leader who quit the party in 2013 to float his own outfit, is unhappy with Kumar also because of his alleged "neech" statement. The comment was made at a television programme a week ago when the JD(U) chief had refused to comment on reports the RLSP might end up getting fewer seats than it had fought in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.

Kushwaha has alleged that the remark is tantamount to him being called a "lowly" person.

"During my meeting with Shah, I intend to raise both the issues — seat sharing as well as the humiliation by Nitish Kumar," Kushwaha said.

He has been maintaining that his party has a tie-up only with the BJP and not with the JD(U).

Ram Vilas Paswan's son and LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan recently said his party would like to contest the same number of seats it fought on in 2014, but he had added that he was ready to make a "sacrifice" in the larger interest of the NDA.

Kushwaha, however, has pointed out that any demand for sacrifice by the RLSP was irrational as his party was the only NDA constituent which was denied a ministerial berth in Bihar.

He had joined the NDA at a time when Kumar had snapped ties with the BJP, and has been viewing the JD(U)'s return to the coalition last year with much anxiety.

The opposition Grand Alliance — comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and the Hindustani Awam Morcha — too has been trying to woo Kushwaha.

"If Kushwaha wanted to remain in the NDA, he should not have taken on Nitish Kumar in the manner he has done. It is very easy for a powerful chief minister to poach on legislators belonging to a small party like the RLSP," RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary said in a statement. 

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