Union minister Upendra Kushwaha skips another BJP-hosted dinner, gets invite to join Grand Alliance
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader and union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Friday sought to downplay his absence at a get-together of senior NDA leaders in Patna the previous night which he said was due to “personal reasons” and asserted that the coalition was “intact”.india Updated: Jun 08, 2018 22:31 IST
Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Friday said there was no reason to play up his absence from a dinner organized by the BJP for the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar last night. But speculation over his motives continued as he skipped another BJP-hosted meal.
Kushwaha, who heads the Rashtriya Lok Samata party (RLSP), arrived in Patna on Friday and left for his Lok Sabha constituency Karakat in Rohtas district. This meant he would miss an iftar hosted by BJP leader and Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi later in the day.
“I could not join the NDA get-together due to personal reasons. I am with NDA. There is no reason to play up my absence. Other leaders from my party did attend the get-together,” he told reporters at Patna airport, pointing out even BJP chief Amit Shah also did not attend the dinner.
Kushwaha has time and again sought better coordination among NDA constituents and had earlier welcomed the dinner organised in Patna.
In his absence, his party leader Nagmani issued a statement that the NDA would benefit if Kushwaha was declared the alliance’s leader in Bihar for contesting Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
However, Kushwaha refused address the issue, and said the question should be put to Nagmani.
Kushwana has a reputation for bold remarks. After the alliance lost the Jokihat bypoll, he had said that there was a growing need to control discontent among NDA allies and the BJP should do the needful.
He again created a buzz when he called on Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Later, there were speculations over his meeting with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar also.
The turn of events prompted former chief minister and Hindustanti Awam Morcha (HAM)-Secular leader Jitan Ram Manjhi to extend him an invitation to join the Grand Alliance (GA).
“He is welcome in the GA, but he would have to give up his ambition to become CM, as RJD leader Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav is already there as the GA choice. In GA, there is no confusion over seat-sharing and a committee will soon be formed for this,” Manjhi said, after calling on RJD chief Lalu Prasad at his residence.
Earlier this year, when Manjhi had left NDA to join the GA, it was Kushwaha who had said it would weaken the NDA.
RJD MP Manoj Jha said that what was evident in the NDA was an indicator of a bigger upheaval to come. “There is a tectonic shift in the politics of the nation in the last few months and the impact is more visible in Bihar. All political leaders who wish to engage with subaltern politics have to quickly leave the BJP bandwagon before it gets completely drowned by the people,” he added.
First Published: Jun 08, 2018 16:52 IST