Describing Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad as “two sides of the same coin", RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha on Friday said the three-party front they have formed is not to “spoil" votes of any alliance but to give a “positive choice" to the people of Bihar. People of the state want an end of 15 years of “misrule" under Kumar and on the other hand the RJD-headed Grand Alliance does not have a “strong face" for the post of chief minister besides people have not forgotten 15-year rule of Lalu Prasad’s party in the state.
Rivals have criticised RJD’s rule from 1990 to 2005 forbad law and order situation and also lack of any development initiatives. “People doesn’t have confidence in Nitish Kumar and they don’t want to go with the RJD as they are two sides of the same coin…in such a situation we have come out with a front of the three parties to give a positive choice to the people," Kushwaha told in an interview.
After being spurned by the NDA and discarded by the RJD-helmed maha gathbandhan, Kushwaha has forged an alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and a non-descript Janatantrik Party (Socialist) ahead of Bihar polls. BSP supremo Mayawati has also announced that her party would be supporting Kushwaha as the “Chief Ministerial" candidate in Bihar, an assertion which is being scoffed at by the ruling NDA in Bihar as well as the grand alliance comprising RJD, Congress and others.
Replying to a question on leaving the grand alliance, the former union minister said “the present leadership of the RJDis not strong enough to remove Nitish Kumar from power and its chief ministerial candidate (Tejashwi Yadav) is no match to him (Kumar)." In the absence of Lalu Prasad, who is in jail in Ranchi after being convicted in four cases of multi-crore rupees fodder scam, his younger son Tejashwi Yadav is commanding the party along with his mother Rabri Devi. “Had the opposition coalition made some decision on an another face for the chief ministerial post it would have helped in removing Kumar from power…but unfortunately this did not happen," he said.
“In such a circumstance I thought instead of getting wiped out in the polls its better to form another alliance to give a choice to people of Bihar," the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) president said. Asked if his separate alliance would divide votes of the opposition grouping and help the ruling NDA, he said “our front is neither to spoil anybody’s vote or indirectly help another. We have come in the field to give a viable option to the voters." In reply to a question if he had any talks on tie-up with the LJP of Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan, which appears uncomfortable in the ruling coalition and taking potshots atKumar, Kushwaha said “LJP has not made its stand clear. If Chirag Paswan decides to walk out of the alliance then we will talk.
“If LJP comes with us we will be able to give an even more stronger positive choice to the people of Bihar." In the 2015 Bihar polls, RLSP as partner of the grand alliance had fielded 23 candidates in the fray out of which two had won. It later succeeded in getting one of its member selected to the legislative council. However, all the three legislators revolted againstKushwahas decision to walk out of the NDA in December, 2018and after the party drew a blank in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, they merged with Kumar’s headed JD(U).
The party had garnered 2.56 per cent votes in that elections. The BSP had contested 228 seats in the previous election in Bihar, but it could not win any of the seats. The Uttar Pradesh based party had got 2.7 per cent votes in the 2015polls in Bihar and many of its candidates had forfeited their deposit.
Kushwaha’s political move has forced some leaders of his own party to say goodbye to him. Its Bihar unit president Bhudev Chaudhary has joined RJD and another top leader Madhav Anand tentered resignation from the party two days later.
On the desertions, Kushwaha has said “its better that people are getting down from the ship before it sails deep in the sea."