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Hurt by Nitish Kumar’s Comments, Upendra Kushwaha Wants Amit Shah to Step in

Nitish Kumar had recently said that he did not want the discourse to be "brought down" by addressing Kushwaha's claims about the Bihar CM's plans for 2020.

Updated:November 7, 2018, 4:59 PM IST
Hurt by Nitish Kumar’s Comments, Upendra Kushwaha Wants Amit Shah to Step in
Combination photo of Nitish Kumar and Upendra Kushwaha.
The political tussle between Nitish Kumar and Upendra Kushwaha has taken a new turn after the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader said he has been hurt by the Bihar CM’s statement that he was not worthy of a comment.

Kushwaha said BJP chief Amit Shah must intervene in the matter to clear things.

“I am writing to Amit Shah ji to look into the issue and immediately convene a meeting for a clarity on the ‘context or content’ of the Bihar CM’s remark,” Hindustan Times reported Kushwaha as saying.

Kumar's JD (U) and Kushwaha's RSLP are both partners in the ruling NDA at the Centre.

Recently, Kushwaha, the Union minister of state for HRD, asked Kumar why he had relegated him to a “lowly” position by saying he was not worthy of a comment.

Kushwaha’s statement came in response to an interview by the Bihar CM where he said he did not want the discourse to be "brought down" by addressing the minister’s claims about his plans for 2020.

Referring to a 2015 comment by Modi, where he had taken a dig at Kumar by suggesting that his inability to respect others showed there was something wrong with his DNA, Kushwaha asked the Bihar CM to furnish his DNA report.

The RLSP chief shares a tumultuous relationship with Kumar. A day after the BJP and the JD(U) arrived at a 50-50 seat-sharing formula, Kushwaha met RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, raising eyebrows in political circles.

His claims about Kumar’s wish to give up his post after 2020 had riled the JD(U), which retorted by saying that the chief minister’s seat was “no rasgulla” and Kumar would continue in his role as he had been elected by the people.

The repeated provocations by Kushwaha, whose party won four Lok Sabha seats as part of the NDA in 2014, have emerged as a pattern in the larger political narrative that he may be trying to build.

Many question if he is attempting to force the BJP’s hand in Bihar and emerge as a martyr. This could work in his favour as community pride and insult at the hands of dominant groups can be a powerful alibi in seeking separation. It can later be used to play the victim card at the hustings.

While Kushawaha’s caste alone does not have numerical strength to alter electoral fortunes in the state, he can bring in the top-up votes of his community in an umbrella social coalition. Keeping this in mind, both the BJP and the JD(U) have been very careful in dealing with his tantrums.

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| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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