Former Bihar minister Vrishan Patel, who recently quit the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) in February, Sunday joined the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) another constituent of the opposition "Mahagathbandhan". Patel, who used to head the HAM state unit, was inducted into the RLSP by the party's national president and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha. The development will have no adverse effect on the party's ties with the HAM, headed by ex-chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
"Patel had quit the HAM more than a month back. Had he been still with that party, it could have created problems. But since he has already spent some time outside it, there should be no issues," Kushwaha told reporters. Replying to queries from journalists, Patel said, "I had quit the HAM but had made it clear then that I was upset over certain matters which were not in the interests of Mahagathbandhan. My commitment to the anti-NDA formation was always intact and there is nothing odd in my joining another constituent of the Grand Alliance."
Patel had resigned from HAM in February on a day when its national spokesperson Danish Rizwan also quit the party with both leaders trading charges. Manjhi accepted their resignations but re-inducted Rizwan about a fortnight ago. Patel's induction into the RLSP could be seen as an attempt by Kushwaha to make a dent into the "Lav-Kush" combination of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who heads the JD(U) which is a part of the NDA.
In the state's political lexicon, "Lav-Kush" is used to describe Kurmi and Koeri castes. Kumar is a Kurmi and so is Patel, whose father Veerchand Patel was among the tallest OBC leaders of Bihar in his times. Kushwaha is a Koeri. Yadavs largely with Lalu Prasad's RJD which is the largest constituent of the "Mahagathbandhan" along with Kurmis and Koeris form the "Triveni", a term used to refer the three dominant OBC groups in the state.