The BJP’s ally in Bihar, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), has demanded a meeting of alliance partners to discuss seat-sharing and the issue of the chief ministerial candidate ahead of assembly polls in the state due this year.
RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha’s demand assumes significance at a time when the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party, another ally in Bihar, has announced it will go with the BJP’s decision on a CM candidate and other issues.
“I am not putting any pressure,” Kushwaha, who is also minister of state for HRD, told HT. “I am simply suggesting the NDA allies from Bihar sit together and decide on crucial issues like whether or not to project a CM candidate and seat-sharing between partners.”
“We will accept the BJP’s decision. We have no issues,” said Paswan, also a minister in the NDA government at the Centre.
Kushwaha said a message of “unity” will go to the cadre of all three parties if they consult each other and decide unanimously.
The RLSP had won all three seats it contested in the last Lok Sabha election and polled about 3% votes banking on its sway over the Kushwahas, an electorally significant backward community in Bihar.
While several BJP leaders have been publicly dismissive about the poll prospects of a likely alliance between the RJD and the JD(U) in Bihar, Kushwaha believes they could put up a good fight —though not good enough to defeat the NDA.
Sounding a word of caution, Kushwaha said, “In Bihar, people will also judge us in terms of what we have done at the Centre. A year and a half is a long time and people will not care what our promises are. They’ll see how we have delivered on past promises.”