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Fresh Out of NDA, Kushwaha May Join Bihar Grand Alliance Today After Meeting Rahul and Tejashwi

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.

Updated:December 20, 2018, 11:12 AM IST
New Delhi: Former Union minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who had recently walked out of the NDA fold, is likely to join the Bihar Mahagathbandhan on Thursday, sources said.

A senior Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader said talks between his party and the UPA constituents were almost final and an announcement by Kushwaha on joining it is likely to be made at a press conference on Thursday. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) founder Jitan Ram Manjhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi are likely to be present during the announcement. Opposition leader Sharad Yadav may also attend the event.

Reacting to the news, Tejashwi said, "We have always asked Kushwaha to be a part of our team...we have given him an open invitation...I hope he will be a part of the grand alliance."

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. In his resignation letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he 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.”

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. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP)’s Parliamentary Board chairman Chirag Paswan recently seemed to issue a veiled threat to the BJP over seat sharing in Bihar, saying if talks did not successfully progress in the right direction, it could lead to damage.

Paswan, tweeting in Hindi, said after the exit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the RLSP from the NDA fold, the alliance is at a critical juncture and at such a time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must address the concerns of the remaining constituents “before it is too late”.

This is not the first time Paswan has issued an ultimatum to the BJP over seat sharing. Last month, the LJP leader had said the party will not accept any "dishonourable" arrangement in Bihar for Lok Sabha elections. He had said with the JD(U) joining the alliance this time, the BJP being the biggest partner will have to make more adjustments for its allies.

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