RLSP Won’t Take BJP’s Seat Share Offer, Will Now Meet PM: Kushwaha

“The impasse over the seat-sharing arrangement continues,” Kushwaha said.

3 min read

After failing to meet with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah to discuss their displeasure over the seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha said his party has decided not to accept the seats offered by the BJP for the 2019 elections.

He further said that he would no longer push for a meeting with anyone from the BJP, save for PM Narendra Modi.

“Now I’ll not make any move from my end to meet anyone from BJP. However, I’ll try to meet PM once. There are some people in Bihar’s NDA who don’t want to see Modi Ji be the PM in 2019.”

NDA Seat Sharing Offer in Bihar Disrespectful to RSLP: Kushwaha

Earlier in the day, Kushwaha had said that the seat-sharing arrangement among the ruling NDA constituents in Bihar was “disrespectful to his party”, and warned that a continued rift over seats would be detrimental to the NDA.

He said that he had attempted to negotiate with BJP president Amit Shah over the seat sharing arrangement but to no avail. He had added that his party was willing to wait till 30 November before deciding on further action.

“I will also try and meet PM Narendra Modi to seek his intervention,” Kushwaha added.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's "insulting remark” on Kushwaha was also discussed in his party's meeting in Patna on Saturday.

In a sign that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was growing increasingly wary of the Union minister as he escalates his attack on Nitish Kumar, there was no word from the saffron party on the appointment Kushwaha had sought with BJP chief Amit Shah.

The RLSP leader attended his party's state executive meeting, and BJP sources said any meeting between the two leaders before that is unlikely.

Kushwaha had left for Delhi from Patna on Thursday, tweeting that he had sought an appointment with Shah to discuss the issue of seat-sharing and also his alleged humiliation by Kumar.

Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Kushwaha claimed that his party wanted its share of seats in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 to be commensurate with its "increased" strength compared to the 2014 polls when it had contested on three seats.

The BJP has indicated that it is unlikely to spare more than two seats for him.

Kushwaha also repeated his allegation that Kumar had called him 'neech' (lowly).

Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) president Kumar had said at an event that the level of discourse “should not be lowered (itna neeche mat giraiye)“.

He had responded to a journalist's query about Kushwaha's claim that Kumar did not want to continue as chief minister after the 2020 Assembly polls.

The RLSP leader alleged that Kumar referred to him as 'neech', a charge vehemently denied by the JD(U) which also released videos of the event. He also claimed that Kumar wants to destroy his party.

“The impasse over the seat-sharing arrangement continues,” Kushwaha said, adding it will also be discussed in the meeting.

The RLSP chief's aggressive comments against Kumar and his attack on Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for defending of the CM has signalled his growing isolation in the coalition.

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party is another National Democratic Alliance constituent besides the BJP, JD(U) and RLSP.

Speculations were rife that Kushwaha could make a “big announcement” with regard to his continuance in the BJP-led NDA.

Mercurial RLSP leader Nagamani echoed the prevailing mood on the eve of the meeting with a cryptic remark, "There will be a big explosion in a day or two".

However, a senior party indicated that the RLSP will not pull the plug on NDA and wait for the BJP's response.

(With inputs from The Press Trust of India)

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