New Delhi: Upset with the BJP over seat-sharing in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha on Monday resigned from the Union council of ministers. He also said he is parting ways with the NDA government.
Kushwaha sent his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he confirmed about resigning the ministerial post and the BJP-led NDA alliance.
Addressing a press conference following his resignation, Kushwaha launched a fresh salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the latter failed to fulfil the “promises” he made to the people of Bihar.
He further alleged that the BJP government at the Centre did not do enough to get special status for Bihar.
“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,” he said.
I stand dejected, betrayed by your leadership, wrote Kushwaha in his letter to PM, adding that “government’s priority is not to work for poor but to fix political opponents”.
“I had a bitter experience. I had attempted to put forth my words strongly while in NDA so that the people of Bihar get justice. But even after all these efforts, BJP stood with Bihar CM. Nitish ji has done injustice to people on all fronts,” he said.
“State govt has failed. Nitish ji’s agenda is to destroy me and my party. This was started by BJP. In Bihar election, seats of all allies were increased. But injustice was done to RLSP,” Kushwaha added.
He said that he has left the NDA, and “other options are open”. Speculations are rife that Kushwaha quit the NDA in favour of ‘mahagathbandhan’ comprising RJD, Congress and HAM of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
According to reports, Kushwaha is likely to meet Congress chief Rahul Gandhi soon.
The Congress, which is the second largest constituent of the opposition Grand Alliance, urged Kushwaha to make haste and come out of the NDA.
The development comes after Kushwaha’s “ultimatum” to the BJP for finalising seat-sharing among NDA constituents in Bihar by November 30 went unheeded.
On December 1, Kushwaha fired a fresh salvo at the BJP leadership, saying a person who heads towards doom loses his reasoning. He claimed he was not given an appointment by BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier, reports were rife that the RLSP chief is in talks with former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav who has formed his own party. There is speculation that two small parties are toying with the idea of a merger.
However, a spectre of a split also looms large on the RLSP with both its MLAs and lone MLC, besides one of its MPs, are said to be in touch with Kumar and keen on remaining in the NDA in the event of Kushwaha severing ties with it.
Ever since the announcement by the BJP president that his party and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) will contest equal number of seats out of the total 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, Kushwaha has been publicly showing his unhappiness.
He had said that the BJP had offered RLSP two seats which his party rejected and sought a “respectable” number instead.
Kushwaha’s party had won all the three seats it had contested in 2014 in Bihar with the BJP. But, with the return of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in the coalition, the equation changed.
Kushwaha came into political prominence after Nitish Kumar backed him as the leader of opposition in Bihar assembly in 2004 despite the fact that it was his first outing as an MLA, but later fell out with the JD(U) chief and floated RLSP.
Kushwaha aligned with the BJP in the last Parliamentary election, while the JD(U) was part of the grand alliance with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.