New Delhi: Rashtriya Lok Samata (RLS) Party chief Upendra Kushwaha has claimed that Nitish Kumar does not want to continue after 2020 Assembly elections, said media reports on Thursday. Addressing his party workers in Patna, the Union Minister reportedly claimed that Nitish had confided in him that he didn’t want to continue as the Chief Minister beyond 2020.”Nitish Ji is satisfied and saturated when it comes to CM’s chair but people will misquote my statement. The people of Bihar will decide who will be CM and not the political parties,” Kushwaha said. (Also read: ‘Have Made BJP Aware of What we Want,’ Says Kushwaha) Also Read - 71 Bodies Fished Out From Ganga in Bihar So Far, All Floated Downstream From UP: Minister

However, the Union Minister was quick to add that what he said in no way meant that he was asking for Nitish’s resignation. No one can force him to exit against his wishes, he said. Kushwaha said he wanted a ‘respectable’ number of seats to fight in the state. Also Read - We May Give Responsibility To Army: Patna High Court Slams Nitish Govt Over COVID Management

Kushwaha also made it clear that a final seat-sharing deal had not been chalked out yet but hinted at remaining a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), LJP and RLSP had contested 30, seven and three seats of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in 2014 and won 22, six and three of them respectively. Also Read - Bihar Lockdown: Complete Shutdown Announced Till May 15. Check Full List of Restrictions Here

A leading portal quoted JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar making light of Kushwaha’s claim. He said Nitish was the Chief Minister by “virtue of people’s mandate and the legislators’ choice”.

However, this is not the first time that the RLSP chief has raised the issue. In July, he had questioned the logic of going with Nitish as the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate. Himself a former JD (U) leader, Kushwaha quit the party in 2013, months after suspension on disciplinary grounds. His meeting with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav last week sparked speculation over his course of action.

The RJD has anyway accused Nitish of “blackmailing” the BJP to secure a seat-sharing deal in his favour.