Patna: Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Friday demanded that his Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) be allotted more than three seats in Bihar to contest in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, saying that the party had gained significantly in strength in Bihar. In the 2014 polls, Kushwaha’s party had contested and won three seats out of 40.

“My party had contested three Lok Sabha seats in 2014 but now this party’s strength and base have increased… Our party should be given more than three seats after making a neutral assessment of its strength,” Kushwaha told reporters at his party office in Patna. The statement came hours after he and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan rejected the 20-20 formula in Bihar.

Kushwaha admitted that he had raised the demand for more number of seats with BJP general secretary and Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav. If need be, he added, he would also speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. He further said that the seat-sharing issue between NDA partners in Bihar — BJP, JD(U), RLSP and LJP — has not been finalised, otherwise, it would have been announced.

He also made it clear that his party’s alliance is with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and not with the Janata Dal (United). “In a democracy, even a commoner can don the chair of the chief minister. That is the beauty of democracy,” he said.

Hours before, Kushwaha had rejected the seat-sharing formula in Bihar for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, making it clear that he wants to contest on the same number of seats as in 2014 polls. While LJP demands to contest on at least seven seats, the RLSP, on the other hand, insisted that it would not accept a share of fewer than three seats.