RLSP chief to skip NDA dinner in Bihar, party miffed at Nitish Kumar’s growing influence

RLSP chief to skip NDA dinner in Bihar, party miffed at Nitish Kumar’s growing influence

“We have full faith in the prime minister. But we demand from the BJP that there should be an NDA meeting and all alliance parterns should decide on the chief ministerial candidate for the next Bihar elections,” RLSP spokesperson M Anand told CNN-News18.
“Without any NDA meeting, if any party projects its leaders as CM candidate, that would be unjust,” he further said.
The Bihar Assembly polls must be fought under Kushwaha’s leadership, RLSP working president Nagamani said. “This is because he is the leader of a community which is the largest, after the Yadavs, among OBCs. Kushwahas account for about 10 per cent of the total population in the state.”
The RLSP leader’s statement came shortly before Kushwaha communicated to state BJP president Nityanand Rai via telephone that he would not be able to attend the NDA meeting. Kushwaha said he was occupied elsewhere and hence would not be able to attend the NDA meeting. But much should not be read into this as he has assured that other leaders of RLSP would be attending the meeting, Rai told reporters.
A former Kumar loyalist, Kushwaha quit the JD(U) in 2013 when he was a Rajya Sabha member, months after having been suspended from the party on disciplinary grounds.
He went on to form his own party and joined the BJP-led NDA. Riding the strong Narendra Modi wave in 2014, his party won three Lok Sabha seats and he became the Minister of State for Human Resource Development. However, his party did poorly in the assembly polls a month later, managing to win only two seats.
He has reportedly been sulking over his diminished stature in the NDA since Kumar returned to the coalition last year. The NDA gathering is first since Kumar returned to the coalition after dumping the Grand Alliance with the RJD and the Congress in July last year.
Apart from RLSP, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) also does not seem to be too happy with NDA. “We have not got special package for Bihar. But for the benefit of Bihar, we are with the NDA. But we would like to remind BJP to not be irresponsible,” JD(U)’s Shyam Rajak told CNN-News18.
“Nitish Kumar and JD(U) are playing a major role in Bihar. We had contested election on 25 seats. They (NDA) will have to give us 25 seats, no question of any lesser number of seats. If NDA wants to be benefited by Nitish Kumar’s image, they’ll have to do justice to JD(U) and him,” he further said.
These rumblings within the NDA in Bihar come just a day after Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan dismissed speculation about a rift within the NDA in Bihar over the issue of seat-sharing for next year’s Lok Sabha polls and asserted that the BJP-led coalition was “intact” in the state.