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'Seat-sharing Not Imp': As RSLP Chief Hints Exit from Grand Alliance in Bihar, Sources Say 'Mere Formalities'

RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha.

RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha.

At an emergency meeting of the party held in Patna, the RLSP leaders deplored the RJD's propensity for taking "ektarfa" (unilateral) decisions, blaming it for bringing the grand alliance to the brink of disintegration.

The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) founding president Upendra Kushwaha expressed regret over 'not being able to bring changes' due to lack of efforts by RJD to keep the Grand Alliance intact.

"It is not possible to bring in change while standing behind the leadership of RJD," Kushwaha said adding that seat-sharing "is not very important". "This is not about seat-sharing, this is about Bihar. People want leadership which can stand up to Nitish Kumar," he was quoted as saying.

At an emergency meeting of the party held in Patna, the RLSP leaders deplored the RJD's propensity for taking "ektarfa" (unilateral) decisions, blaming it for bringing the grand alliance to the brink of disintegration.

"We had quit the NDA, given up positions of power, because of the belief that the country needed a political alternative. It seems all our efforts are going down the drain", RLSP principal national general secretary Madhaw Anand said.

"We did everything possible to preserve the grand alliance but we're done in by the RJD's obstinacy. We shall always remain committed to the causes we have espoused but we are not left with much hope in the so-called grand alliance which has already lost former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM to the NDA", Anand rued.

He said the opposition coalition, given the confusion over Tejashwi Yadav's leadership and the role of Left parties, was "in effect only helping the NDA gain an upper hand". "Some decision has to be taken by the RLSP. We cannot afford to drag our feet. Hence at the meeting where all members of our national and state executives were present, Kushwaha was authorised to take a decision", he added without divulging more detail.

Party sources, however, said on condition of anonymity that RLSP leaders were in regular touch with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and an exit from the grand alliance and return to the NDA was a "mere formality". The RLSP had quit the NDA in December, 2018, which also caused Kushwaha to lose his place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers.

The party, which won three seats in 2014 general election under NDA umbrella, drew a blank in 2019 when it entered poll fray as a partner of the grand allianc in Bihar. It's two MLAs and one MLC also broke ranks and merged with the JD(U).

In the event of RLSP saying goodbye to the grand alliance, the opposition grouping will be left with the RJD, Congress and Vikashsheel Insaan Party (VIP), a fledgling outfit floated by former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni.

(With inputs from PTI)


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