Kushwaha camp elated with BJP’s defeat in state assembly polls
The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) till Monday, is thanking its stars for deciding to pull out of the alliance a day before the BJP suffered defeats in the assembly elections.
Though the party president Upendra Kushwaha, along with his party office-bearers will decide on the future course of action--whether to move to UPA-- party workers are happy that the decision to pull out came before the results were announced. RLSP sources said that the decision to join the UPA was still not final.
“Had we decided to quit the NDA after the announcement of results, different meanings would have been attached to it. We took the decision on principles and have differed with the BJP on various counts. The results could have gone either way but in our party’s interest, we stand vindicated. We have reasons to celebrate and get more vocal against our former alliance partners,” said Fazal Imam Malik, spokesperson of the RLSP.
The RLSP, party sources said, has chalked out a strategy to attack Bihar government on education front, Srijan scam, Muzaffarpur shelter home case and the BJP’s stand on Ram Mandir issue at Ayodhya.
On the party’s possible merger with Sharad Yadav’s outfit, RLSP sources said it would be too early to comment on that. “As of now, there are no talks of merger but the party is definitely discussing the political scenario with him as well as with Mukesh Sahni, the leader of Nishad community, on the possibility of a third front,” said Malik.
RLSP sources claimed that Kushwaha, with his clean image, was now going to be a big player in Bihar politics. Muslims are slowly moving away from the JD (U) and gravitating towards the RLSP,” said Malik.
Though Kushwaha has talked of three options --joining UPA, going alone, or forging a third front with smaller parties like Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikashil Insaan Party-- he will have to shed his ambitions of becoming the chief minister, his party men say.
A section of leaders in the RJD and Congress feel Kushwaha can bring along about 4-5% of votes of the NDA to the UPA, which could be enough to tilt the balance in their favour. The RJD-Congress combine has fallen short by 7-8% votes in both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections since 2005, when Kumar’s NDA first formed the government in Bihar.
Koeris, Kushwaha’s caste, are 6.4% of Bihar’s population. Along with Yadavs who are Bihar’s 14.4% population and Muslims 16%, they can pose a serious challenge to the NDA.
According to RLSP sources, nearly 90 assembly segments in Bihar have a Koeri population in excess of 35,000, and another 18 segments that have 15,000-plus.