NDA closes ranks against RLSP

Anger over Union Minister Upendra Khushwaha’s meeting with Sharad Yadav

Allies should settle their differences behind closed doors rather than airing them in public, Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan said on Tuesday.

He was referring to the recent outburst of NDA ally and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

None of the three NDA constituents — the BJP, the LJP and the JD(U) — are in the mood to woo Mr. Kushwaha’s party, leaving him little elbow room for political manoeuvring in the coalition. The allies are still working on a possible seat-sharing formula acceptable to all.

“If you have any issues with any of the allies, you should bring the problem to the table and discuss among coalition partners instead of public whining,” Mr. Paswan told The Hindu.

The LJP leader, who had an hour-long breakfast meeting with Mr. Nitish Kumar on Monday, said Mr. Kushwaha is the only ally who has repeatedly complained about the seat-sharing formula.

“You cannot simultaneously travel in two boats. The very next day after his meeting with my father and LJP president, Ram Vilas Paswan, he was in Delhi to meet Sharad Yadav. Politics should not be merely about how many seats you get to contest. You should never lose sight of your ideology and convictions,” Mr. Paswan added.

Onus on BJP

While the NDA partners are not going the extra mile to retain Mr. Kushwaha, they are not keen to see him leave either. “All these statements, meetings with opposition leaders … is only to provoke an expulsion from NDA so that he can play martyr. Why should we play into his hands,” a senior leader from Bihar said.

JD(U) general secretary K.C. Tyagi said it was for the BJP leadership to act against Mr. Kushwaha.

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