A split seems imminent at the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), an ally in the Bharatiya Janata Party -led National Democratic Alliance.
Two days after a dissenting faction sacked party president and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, the party’s disciplinary committee suspended Jehanabad MP Arun Kumar and MLA Lallan Paswan for indulging in anti-party activities.
“Based on the recommendations of the party’s disciplinary committee chief and MP Ram Kumar Sharma, the National Council has decided to suspend Lok Sabha member Arun Kumar and MLA Lallan Paswan for indulging in anti-party activities,” said a statement by RLSP’s principal general secretary Shivraj Singh.
The party also suspended former national general secretary Binod Kushwaha from the party.
The RLSP, a majority of whose leaders had moved away from JD(U), contested the 2014 general election with the BJP and has three Lok Sabha MPs in Bihar — Upendra Kushwaha (Karakat), Arun Kumar (Jehanabad) and Ram Kumar Sharma (Sitamarhi).
It has also two MLAs in the 243-member Bihar assembly — Lallan Paswan (Chenari) and Sudhansu Sekhar (Harlakhi).
The dissenting faction had on Wednesday appointed Arun Kumar the new president of the party, and also revoked the suspension of members of various central and state committees, which were disbanded by Upendra Kushwaha a few months ago.
Reacting to his suspension, the Jehanabad MP said his suspension has no meaning as Kushwaha had already been replaced as national president. “The RLSP led by Kumar is the real party as 33 members of the central council attended today’s meeting, apart from a large number of state committee members. We will inform the Election Commission,” he said.
Kumar, however, made it clear that they would not part ways with the NDA. “Narendra Modi is our leader. We fought election in his name, so we will continue to work under his leadership in the NDA,” Kumar said.
For the last few months, internal feud had intensified in the party with the Kumar faction levelling allegations against Kushwaha of having links with people allegedly involved in hawala trade and intimating the Prime Minister’s Office about it. The dissenters had charged Kushwaha of crushing internal democracy in the party and ignoring genuine workers.