RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha declares ‘war’ on BJP, stops short of announcing split with NDA

RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha declares ‘war’ on BJP, stops short of announcing split with NDA PTI
Motihari (Bihar), December 06, 2018 20:52 IST

Updated: December 06, 2018 21:13 IST

PTI
Motihari (Bihar), December 06, 2018 20:52 IST

Updated: December 06, 2018 21:13 IST

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Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday declared a “war” on the NDA but stopped short of announcing a break-up with the BJP-led coalition.

“I have categorically said it is a war. What more do you expect me to say?” the Union Minister, who has often made public his unhappiness over the seat-sharing issue for the Lok Sabha polls by criticising the leadership of the BJP and the JD(U), told reporters when asked if he was severing ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The BJP and the JD(U) offered the RLSP just two seats of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. Mr. Kushwaha had said that the number of seats the party was offered was not respectable and asked the BJP to do a rethink by November 30.

RLSP sources had hinted on Wednesday that the party was likely to sever ties with the NDA government and a formal announcement would be made on Thursday.

At an open session of the party in Motihari, Mr. Kushwaha made a scathing attack on the BJP and quoted from poet Dinkar’s work ‘Rashmirathi’ the words of Lord Krishna addressed to Duryodhana: “Since gesture of friendship has been spurned, I am announcing the final resolve that henceforth, there would be no more supplication but a war.”

To questions by reporters, who approached him after the rally, that he had left his stand vague and if he wanted the NDA to expel him instead, Mr. Kushwaha dismissed the suggestion and said he was not seeking to play a victim card.

“Only the first generation makes sacrifices. The second one rules,” Mr. Kushwaha said.

To a question whether a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi was on the cards, he said, “I need nobody’s permission to meet anyone.”

On Wednesday, the party’s national general secretary and spokesperson Madhaw Anand had said that break-up with the NDA was likely to be announced at the rally here and Mr. Kushwaha would also put in his papers as Union Minister after meeting the Prime Minister.

Mr. Kushwaha is presently the Minister of State for Human Resource Development (HRD) in the NDA at the Centre.

Asked about the development on Thursday, he maintained, “NDA in Bihar is on the brink of a break-up. The formal announcement could not be made because of some technical issues. But we are not going back on our stance. Mr. Kushwaha’s words that it will be a war [ran hoga] should leave nobody in doubt.”

Speaking at the rally, Mr. Kushwaha launched a blistering attack on the BJP for raking up the Ram temple issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

“People nowadays often say it is no longer Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s BJP but Bharatiya Jumala Party,” he said, adding that the party’s top leadership was being guided by those elements in Bihar who have “ganged up” with Nitish Kumar and had earlier projected him as a “prime ministerial material“.

“We also have strong objections to the BJP again raking up the Ram temple issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Political parties are not supposed to construct places of worship. And the worst part is, the BJP is doing so only for electoral gains, else they would not have waited for more than four years after coming to power,” Mr. Kushwaha said.

He also charged Nitish Kumar’s government in the State with failure on all fronts.

Mr. Kushwaha reiterated his accusation that the JD(U) chief had called him a “lowly person” and alleged that his erstwhile mentor was trying to cause a split in the RLSP which comprises, largely, disgruntled elements from the Janata Dal (United).

Both the RLSP MLAs — Lalan Paswan and Sudhanshu Shekhar — and one of its MPs, Ram Kumar Sharma, all of whom have been opposed to the party walking out of the NDA, remained conspicuous by their absence at the rally.

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