Union Minister Kushwaha meets Sharad Yadav amidst speculation
New Delhi : Miffed at being "ignored" for the seat-sharing talks in the NDA in Bihar, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha on Monday gave signals that he may part ways with the BJP-led alliance.
According to Kushwaha's partymen, BJP President Amit Shah had called him for a meeting, but did not give him any appointment. The RLSP leader met Loktantrik Janata Dal President Sharad Yadav here on Monday.
The meeting comes amid war of words between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Kushwaha which took an ugly turn on Sunday when the RLSP chief accused the JD-U President of poaching his MLAs.
The development in Bihar politics, after the BJP and the JD-U announced a fortnight ago that the two parties will contest an equal number of Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, has given rife to speculation that the RLSP may part ways with the NDA.
Kushwaha, who tweeted that his meeting with Yadav was a "courtesy call", is understood to have discussed with him the current political situation in Bihar. Kushwaha had earlier met RJD leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav.
Amid reports that two of the RLSP's MLAs are set to join the JD-U, Kushwaha alleged on Sunday that Kumar has an "expertise" in breaking away MLAs.
Media reports claimed that RLSP MLAs Sudhanshu Shekhar (Harlakhi in Madhubani district) and Lalan Paswan (Chenari in Rohtas district) were offered a ministerial berth in the state government.
Sources in the RLSP told IANS that Kushwaha is not happy the way he is being treated by the BJP despite supporting the candidature of Narendra Modi even before he was declared party's prime ministerial candidate in 2014.
They reminded that it was Nitish Kumar, whom the BJP is giving so much of importance today, had left the NDA after Modi was announced BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
RLSP sources claimed that BJP chief Amit Shah had called Kushwaha to meet him in Delhi on Sunday but he did not meet despite both leaders being in Delhi and Kushwaha waiting for his call.
The day seat-sharing formula was announced by Shah and Kumar in Delhi, the BJP chief had said that when a new friend (JD-U) has joined the alliance, the number of seats for each will come down.
To this, Kushwaha had asked why the RLSP was ignored in power sharing when the JD-U came into the NDA fold and formed the government in Bihar last year.
Since the announcement of ticket distribution, Kushwaha has been attacking Kumar. Addressing a rally in Bihar, he had attacked Kumar asking him to share his DNA report that was questioned by Modi during an election rally in Bihar.
On this Kumar had reportedly refused to reply, saying "Itna neeche baat ko nahi le jaiye (do not take the debate to such a low level)".
The RLSP said that the "neech" remark of Kumar was targeted at Kushwaha to insult him and the party workers held a protest march in Patna on Saturday against it.
The BJP has offered two seats to the RLSP which had made it clear that it would not compromise on its demand for not less than four seats.
Of the 40 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP had won 22 out of the 30 it contested while the Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP won 6 out of the seven it contested and the RLSP all the 3 it contested as part of the NDA alliance. The JD-U contested separately and had bagged only two seats.