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Will He, Won’t He? Kushwaha Likely to Announce Formal Break-up With NDA Today

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Valmiki Nagar (Bihar): Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) is likely to sever ties with the NDA government and a formal announcement would be made on Thursday, a senior party leader said on Wednesday.

The leader said on condition of anonymity that Kushwaha is also likely to put in his papers as Union minister. Kushwaha is the Minister of State for HRD in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre. “That (Kushwaha’s resignation) is just a formality which would be completed once he visits the national capital and meets the Prime Minister,” the leader said.

On Wednesday, the RLSP made a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government and the Nitish Kumar regime in Bihar.

Kushwaha, who is authorised to take necessary political decisions at a two-day Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) of the RLSP, held in this remote forest sanctuary in West Champaran and attended by members of national and state executives, is scheduled to address a rally at Motihari on Thursday.
The party leader said the RLSP’s tough stance made it amply clear that “our association with the NDA, which means the BJP and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, is over for all practical purposes. We had no alliance with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in any case. He returned to the coalition only last year, while we had been a part of the NDA since 2014”.

In a strongly worded, four-page resolution, the RLSP expressed grave concern over many objectionable and unnecessary decisions taken by the BJP and the central government in the recent past.

It said “we are not opposed to construction of mosques and temples. But this is not the function of political parties and their meddling in such matters causes tensions in the society and diverts the attention of the public from real issues”.

Raking up the issue of temple construction in Ayodhya ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the resolution said it “gives rise to the suspicion that the largest party in the coalition ruling the Centre, and some of its leaders, are deliberately trying to make the people forget about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment and get swayed by emotive issues. The party strongly condemns this attitude”.

In the strongest criticism so far of the Nitish Kumar government in the state, the party said the chief minister’s silence over scams during his rule give rise to the suspicion of his involvement in them and charged him with having capitulated before communal forces.

“Collapse of law and order has forced the people of the state to live in fear. The state government revels in its own gimmicks coming up with fanciful ideas like a five-year agriculture road map while turning a blind eye towards the problems faced by the peasantry. The party (RLSP) takes the pledge to dislodge this government from power in the state, deeming it necessary to usher in peace and prosperity, the resolution added.

The party’s future course of action was not clear even though the grand alliance constituents RJD, Congress and HAM have been wooing Kushwaha for long.

The Union minister has also been in talks with former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav who has formed his own party. There is speculation that two small parties are toying with the idea of a merger. However, a spectre of a split also looms large on the RLSP with both its MLAs and lone MLC, besides one of its MPs, are said to be in touch with Kumar and keen on remaining in the NDA in the event of Kushwaha severing ties with it.





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