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Upendra Kushwaha, Who Quit NDA, Joins Congress's Mahagathbandhan in Delhi

Congress' Ahmed Patel made the announcement at a press conference in Delhi, which was attended by Tejashwi Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Updendra Kushwaha, among others.


Updated:December 21, 2018, 11:13 AM IST

New Delhi: Former Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha, who had recently walked out of the NDA fold, joined the Congress' mahagathbandhan in Delhi on Thursday.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel made the announcement at a press conference at the AICC headquarters in the presence AICC state in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, opposition leader Sharad Yadav and Jitan Ram Manjhi who heads the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular).

"There is a gathbandhan in Bihar, it's a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining the mahagathbandhan," said Ahmed Patel.

Explaining his rationale for joining the Bihar mahagathbandhan, Kushwaha said the Modi government failed to fulfil the promises made to the people of Bihar, besides the "insult" he suffered within the NDA. Kushwaha lauded Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav for the "wholeheartedness" shown by them towards him.

"We had said that we have many options and UPA was one of them. The wholeheartedness shown by Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav is one of the reasons I joined but the biggest reason I'm here is the people of Bihar," said Kushwaha.

On seat-sharing arrangement with the UPA, Kushwaha said, "We will take the right decision at the right time." He said an "aakrosh march" will be taken out in Patna on February 2 in which various like-minded parties would participate. Kushwaha lauded Rahul Gandhi for coming to the aid of farmers and youths and said the Congress President does what he says.

The former Union minister, who held the education portfolio in the NDA government, joined the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) after holding talks with the top Congress leadership.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said "this is a union of hearts and not of parties".

Appealing to like-minded parties to unite against the NDA, he called their leaders to "sacrifice their egos in national interest".

The Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) are already part of the UPA in Bihar and are seeking to give a fight to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier, in his resignation letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kushwaha said: "Having served in your council of ministers for last 55 months, I stand dejected and betrayed by your leadership. There has been fundamental problem in what you promised to the people before elections and what you have actually delivered after coming to power.”

Kushwaha was said to be in parleys with the Congress since he quit the NDA after a prolonged battle with the BJP over seat-sharing for the 2019 elections.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had met Kushwaha after the latter quit the NDA. The UPA believes that the former minister’s decision to join it will help it build a momentum against the NDA in Bihar.

The move assumes significance in the run-up to the 2019 elections, especially at a time when the NDA is facing alliance trouble.

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