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Union minister Upendra Kushwaha recycles PM Modi’s ‘DNA’ barb to taunt Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

NDA’s smallest ally, RLSP, to which Union minister Upendra Kushwaha belongs, has been demanding a bigger share of seats for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, commensurate to the expansion in its base since 2014 when it had contested on three seats and won all of them.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2018 09:16 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
2019 Lok Sabha elections,Upendra Kushwaha,Nitish Kumar
Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP party, which is an ally of NDA at the Centre, wants a bigger share of seats for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (HT File Photo )

Days after acknowledging Bihar chief minister as ‘bade bhai’ (elder brother), Union minister of state and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha took a U-turn to train his guns on Nitish Kumar, asking him to share the “status and content” of his DNA test.

With this, Kushwaha has tried to plough into Kumar’s ‘warm relationship’ with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had taken a jibe at the chief minister during a rally in Muzaffarpur in July, 2015 questioning his political DNA after the former had snapped ties with the 17-year-old ally in 2013.

Kushwaha was apparently put off by the chief minister’s remark during a function organised by a media house in the state capital Saturday, where he had parried a question on the Union minister’s recent claim about his unwillingness to continue as CM after 2020. “Batchit ka star itna ‘neeche’ mat giraeeye (don’t allow the level of debate to dip so low), Kumar had said, while stating that he enjoyed a very warm relationship with the PM and BJP chief Amit Shah.

Union minister Kushwaha not only brought the DNA jibe back into currency but also took a dig at Kumar, questioning how the descendants of Luv-Kush (two sons of Sita) be high and low born at the same time. Traditionally, Kurmis trace their ancestry to Luv while Kushwahas claim to be the descendants of Kush.

“How can ‘bada bhai’ Nitish Kumar be a high born (uchch) and younger brother Upendra Kushwaha a ‘neech’ (low born)?” he asked, while speaking at the party’s ‘Halla bol, darwaza khol’ campaign at Muzaffarpur.

“I am hurt by your remark. If I am a ‘neech’, it is not for you to decide. You must explain the reason for your insinuation. Is it because I vouch for social justice or is it because of issues like reservation in judiciary and status of education?” he said, adding, “Such an issue has to be settled by the people.”

Kushwaha said it was now for the chief minister to come clean on the DNA issue as JD(U) leaders had sent the samples of their hair and nails, as a mark of protest, to Delhi for test. “I am asking you, on behalf of the people, to bring the results of DNA test in public domain,” he said, casting doubts over the entire exercise.

By choosing Muzaffarpur for raising the DNA issue, Kushwaha not only brought the PM into play, but also took a leaf from Narendra Modi’s take on Manishankar Aiyar’s ‘neech kism ka insaan’ barb, which was presented as an attack on his caste during Gujarat elections.

With elections round the corner, the unease among smaller allies in NDA camp, after BJP held a joint press conference with JD(U) to declare that the two senior partners would be contesting equal number of Lok Sabha seats in the state, has become more than apparent.

The smallest ally - RLSP - has been demanding a bigger share, commensurate to the expansion in its base since 2014 when it had contested on three seats and won all of them. Kushwaha’s claim to constitute the second largest vote bank of 8%, after Yadavs, in the state.

Kushwaha, who parted ways with Kumar to form his own party in 2013, has shared a chequered relationship with ‘bade bhai’ that also saw him heading the state NCP and resigning from Rajya Sabha membership in the past.

First Published: Nov 05, 2018 09:16 IST