‘Schools, not temples’: Kushwaha’s double-barrelled attack on BJP, JD(U)
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party’s Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday launched a scathing attack against both the BJP government at the Centre as well as the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government in Bihar.
Speaking for more than an hour, Kushwaha criticised the ruling BJP at the Centre and said that political parties should not be building temples, instead they should be building schools to help educate the people of the state.
Continuing his demands for better education facilities for the poor of the state, Kushwaha spoke about how the state did not have enough good teachers and how the JD(U) government had ignored his 25-point charter for education of the people of the state.
Kushwaha, who was speaking at a public meeting in Champaran in Bihar, said that he was willing to forgive chief minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘neech’ remark. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had, a few weeks ago, referred to Kushwaha as ‘neech aadmi’. Kushwaha said on Thursday that he was willing to forgive that remark only if the CM would agree to his demands to help improve the education system in the state.
Kushwaha, a protégé-turned-rival of CM Nitish Kumar, had set the November 30 deadline for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to finalise its seat-sharing formula between the National Democratic Alliance partners in Bihar. But he did not receive any response.
Earlier, the RLSP chief said he made several attempts to meet BJP president Shah, but the latter might have been preoccupied. “Now, I am not going to make any effort to meet BJP top leaders except the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in whose cabinet I am a minister,” he said.
The RLSP fielded four candidates in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and won three seats. But questions were raised about Kushwaha’s appeal among his own community after the RLSP lost 21 out of 23 seats it contested in the 2015 assembly elections.
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Kushwaha has been lately reaching out to other leaders for possible alliances ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
According to sources, he was in talks with expelled Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav over possible merger of their parties.
Kushwaha leads the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), and Yadav is the patron of the Loktantrik Janta Dal, which was formed in July.
If a new party is born out of the merger of the two outfits, it will also try for “understandings”, “alliances” and possibly “mergers” with other parties outside the state, said a leader on condition of anonymity.
Sharad Yadav, too, was in Kumar’s JD(U), but was expelled from the party last year after he revolted against Nitish Kumar’s decision to dump Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and join hands with BJP.
Kushwaha has also reached out to Raju Shetty, a farmer-leader from Maharashtra, who confirmed that the RSLP leader discussed an alliance ahead of the 2019 elections.
“We share good rapport as we were part of the NDA,” said Shetty, who leads the Swabhimani Paksha. He left the BJP-led ruling alliance in 2017, accusing it of cheating farmers on the issue of minimum support price.
The RJD, which has held meetings with Kushwaha, indicated that it is ready to contest fewer seats if that allows more space to be created for new partners.