‘Time running out’: Upendra Kushwaha’s party messages alliance partners

As state polls draw near, the Grand Alliance seems to find it difficult to keep its flock together. First, several sitting MLAs switched over to the JD(U), then former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awami Morcha (Secular) moved out and now former union minister Upendra Kushwaha has indicated that the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), too, could junk the alliance.

Anand Madhav, general secretary of the RLSP, Tuesday said that “politics is an art of possibilities” and the party was free to decide its future course for the sake of Bihar’s development “if the Grand Alliance does not move out of the present situation of indecision and inertia”.

“When it is an alliance, it calls for clarity. There should not be any confusion in the minds of partners. We want the RJD to move ahead and discuss with partners all the issues as time is running out. If there has to be a common minimum programme (CMP), it cannot be developed in a day or two. The election notification can come any day, but there is no talk on CMP,” he added.

Anand said that the RLSP has never raised doubts over the leadership qualities of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, but when there are four-five allies, all need to be in agreement.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, all is not well in the GA and that is sad. Tomorrow, we have the party’s national and state executive meetings and we will decide our next course after talks with leaders on the present situation. We are free to take our own decisions,” he added.

Asked if the RLPS was upset with the number of seats reportedly being offered and could follow Manjhi to get back into the NDA, Madhav said “politics is the art of possibilities, we will not hesitate to take any strong decision for the sake of state’s progress and prosperity”.

The RLSP had joined the GA ahead of the Lok Sabha elections after its leader Upendra Kushwaha resigned from the Union cabinet citing “arrogance of the BJP towards smaller parties”.

The party had won all the three Lok Sabha seats it had got as part of the NDA in the 2014, but drew a blank in 2019 while being part of the GA.

If the RLSP moves back to the NDA, the seat-sharing arrangement will have to be redone.

BJP MLC and former union minister Sanjay Paswan said that Kushwaha was always welcome in the NDA fold, as it will only add to the vote base of the NDA.

“He should be back to the place he belonged. We will get no less than 204 seats in the assembly election if the NDA family grows. Seat adjustment is not a big issue,” he added.

However, RLSP general secretary said that seats were not an issue for the differences in the GA.

“The problem is lack of communication. Our party chief Upendra Kushwaha has been working on education a lot and made it a mass movement. There are other vital issues like health, migration, jobs, etc. which need to be big poll issues,” he added.

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