Bihar seat sharing: Amit Shah had no time to meet Kushwaha; RLSP leaders upset

Some RLSP leaders are upset that BJP chief Amit Shah did not meet Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, instead it was the Bihar in-charge of the saffron party Bhupendra Yadav who gave him time on Oct 30

Bihar seat sharing: Amit Shah had no time to meet Kushwaha; RLSP leaders upset

Soroor Ahmed

A strong section of leaders in the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party appears to be upset as the much expected meeting between Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president Amit Shah and and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha could not materialise either on October 29 or 30. Instead it was the Bihar in-charge of the saffron party Bhupendra Yadav who gave him time on October 30.

The news from New Delhi came at a time when even a couple of days ago some media reports suggested that Kushwaha may even get time from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Though Upendra Kushwaha, as usual, had a word of praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and even called Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar his “Bade Bhai” (Elder Brother) top office bearers of the party are not prepared to accept that Amit Shah could not meet him as he is busy in Assembly elections in five states.

They were heard asking if Shah could give time to Nitish and hold a joint press conference with him only on October 26, why has he not spared time to meet Kushwaha, an ally who came to the BJP’s rescue when the Janata Dal (United) had betrayed the saffron party.

“We never abused the BJP even before 2014 when we had no alliance with it. In contrast look how badly Nitish and the BJP people exchanged charges between 2013 and 2017,” was a common refrain.

Incidentally, all these developments took place on October 30 when RLSP released the first list of 66 candidates for the upcoming Assembly election in Madhya Pradesh.

“We may not be able to win any seat in MP but we can ensure defeat to the BJP candidates in 20 to 30 seats, which have good Koeri population,” a top RLSP leader told this correspondent.

RLSP appears to be torn apart on the issue of continuing its alliance with the BJP. While Kushwaha had even after meeting with Bhupendra Yadav told newsmen that he was sure that Narendra Modi would once again emerge as the Prime Minister after the next Lok Sabha election, the party’s working president, Nagmani, wants to have tie up with the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Curiously, while these developments were going on a local channel in Bihar reported that Upendra Kushwaha had even resigned from the Union cabinet. The news appeared to be baseless.

Some political observers are of the view that this news was planted by a faction within the party.

Nagmani is a much senior politician than Kushwaha and has his own ambition. In the past he had been with Lalu Prasad and even a minister in the Lalu-Rabri cabinet. Even his wife had served as the party legislator. As he has the ambition to become an MP he wants to seek the support of Lalu.

Nagmani’s father, Jagdeo Prasad, was an influential backward caste leader who was killed in police firing at Kurtha in the then Jehanabad district in 1974. He was the leader of Soshit Samaj Dal. Nagmani has been in politics ever since then.

Koeris and Yadavs used to form a strong combination against the landed upper castes in Magadh region of Bihar in pre-Mandal era. They had a strong presence in the Naxalite movement then.

Nagmani hails from this very region while Kushwaha is originally from trans-Ganga north Bihar, though he is MP from Karakat which is not far away from Magadh region.

The October 26 meeting between Kushwaha and RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad took place in Arwal town of Magadh region where the two castes they represent, have a strong presence. This is the home turf of Nagmani, who might have played his part in bringing them together.

Bihar watchers are of the opinion that the tussle within RLSP is likely to have its impact in days to come.

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Published: 31 Oct 2018, 10:41 AM