After Bihar Loss, Kushwaha’s RLSP Merges with Nitish’s JD(U)
“RLSP will work for common causes under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” Kushwaha said.
Months after it failed to win a single seat in the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) President Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday, 14 March, announced the merger of his party with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), reported The New Indian Express.
Addressing a press conference in Patna, Kushwaha said that “RLSP will work for common causes under the leadership of chief minister Nitish Kumar to make Bihar stronger.”
Kushwaha, who had fallen out with Nitish Kumar in the past, added that he had worked with the JD(U) in the past and that the merger was happening in the interest of the state.
Why the Merger?
The merger comes barely a day after 35 RLSP leaders, including the working state president and principal general secretary flocked to the Rashtriya Janata Dal. The leaders had been critical of the party’s decision unite under the JD(U).
- Formed in 2013, the party had won all three Lok Sabha seats it contested in 2014 as part of the NDA, but failed to win a single seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election as a grand alliance constituent.
- While the RLSP won two Assembly seats as an NDA ally in 2015 Bihar Assembly polls, it drew a blank in the 2020 Assembly polls.
- Both RLSP & JDU need each other to consolidate the key OBC constituency of Koer-Kurmi, which forms about 10 percent of the state’s population.
From Friend to Foe to Friend Again
Kushwaha, whose party dented the JDU(U)‘s vote base in at least 30 seats, wasn’t always known as such, reports The Indian Express.
Originally named Upendra Singh, the political leader had started writing his name as Upendra Kushwaha following a suggestion from Nitish Kumar, to whom he had grown politically close.
However, he parted ways with Nitish Kumar in 2009, following which he returned to JD(U) after two years. This too, didn’t last long and he left the party again in 2013.
When asked about his differences with Nitish Kumar, Kushwaha had said, “There is no need of an enemy when you have a friend like Nitish Kumar."
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