Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha, who had recently quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the saffron party’s “arrogance” towards the smaller allies, on Thursday joined Congress-RJD-led grand alliance in Bihar. Confirming the news of Kushwaha joining the Bihar grand alliance, Congress's Ahmed Patel said, "There is a gathbandhan in Bihar, it's a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining the mahagathbandhan".
A crucial meeting with Congress and RJD leaders to okay the seat-sharing pact in Bihar for the next year’s Lok Sabha elections is currently underway in the national capital. Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) founder Jitan Ram Manjhi also took part in the meeting. According to the sources, the seat-sharing formula has already been finalised and an official announcement regarding that is likely to be made at a joint press conference this afternoon.
"Leaders of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, including Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi and Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, at AICC office in Delhi. RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha also present," the news agency ANI reported.
Leaders of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, including Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi and Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, at AICC office in Delhi. RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha also present. pic.twitter.com/uryXyHV1ez— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2018
RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha arrives at AICC office in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/DyOYiN0ozC— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2018
On Sunday, Patel had met Kushwaha in Delhi, giving a further boost to the speculations of him joining the anti-BJP alliance in Bihar. JDU rebel and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav may also be a part of the alliance.
Possible seat sharing scenario in Bihar
Congress: 8-12 seats
RJD: 18-20 seats
RLSP: 4-5 seats
CPM, CPI, CPI(ML): 1 seat
Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM-S: 1-2 seats
Speaking about Kushwaha’s entry into the Grand alliance in Bihar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav confirmed that the RLSP chief has been invited and said that things will be clear by the evening. Citing LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan’s unhappiness with the BJP, Yadav also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party of trying to crush the regional parties.
“Things will be clear by evening, you'll get to know. We have invited people in past too. If Upendra Kushwaha ji wants good for the country, we've invited him. There have been attempts to crush regional parties, even LJP isn't happy with Modi and his faction and this proves the fact,” ANI quoted the RJD leader as saying.
On December 10, Kushwaha had quit as a Union minister and pulled out his support from the BJP-led led alliance, accusing PM Modi of reducing the cabinet to a "rubber stamp". Kushwaha also warned smaller NDA allies that they will also face the same arrogance as he did.