Visibly upset over the honeymooning between BJP president Amit Shah and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, junior Union Minister and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha refused to accept JD(U) as NDA ally and said his party has alliance only with the BJP and LJP. “We had alliance of these three parties in Bihar in 2014 and then JD(U) was our rival and its leaders were abusing Narendra Modi,” said Kushwaha on Friday, giving a clear signal that he was not comfortable in Nitish’s presence in the NDA.
But in similar vein he also tried to allay the apprehension in the NDA circle that he might quit the BJP led alliance if not “honourably accommodated” in seat sharing. He said, “We are not Aya Ram, Gaya Ram like JD(U).” He was also critical of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav saying he was still a trainee and would have a claim of leadership once passed in the electoral test. He further said that the era of Lalu Prasad was over.
With this statement Kushwaha attempted to send a signal to the BJP leadership that he would remain in the alliance but wanted some issues related to Nitish and JD(U) addressed. He was definitely not pleased when Shah and Nitish jointly declared to contest equal number of seats late last month.
The RLSP chief is also very angry with Nitish following his remarks which he took otherwise. Early this week at a programme of national channel, when the anchor asked Nitish about Kushwaha’s statement that he (Nitish) was no longer interested to remain the CM and that there would be a vacancy in 2020, the CM brushed aside saying, “Charcha ke star ko itna neecha mat girayeye (Don’t lower the standard of your debate.)”
Kushwaha lamented that Nitish called him “neech” (low) and this was an insult to Kushwaha caste. He has sponsored a protest march in Patna on Saturday under the banner of Samast Kushwaha Samaj. He said Nitish should clarify his position in public domain only then he would forgive him.
In political circles the tussle between Nitish and Kushwaha is seen as the beginning of a “neech rajniti” (low politics). Whatever it be it has shown clearly that Kushwaha is running out of agenda to show his importance in the NDA and to counter JD(U)’s graph. Sometimes he would give hint of changing sides by meeting Tejashwi and sometimes asserting he was making efforts to make Modi PM once again. Sources said neither the RJD leadership nor the BJP was trusting him because of his unpredictable attitude.