Upendra Kushwaha faces coup: Two RLSP MLAs, MLC to stay in NDA, claim party symbol
In less than a week of RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha’s decision to quit the union ministry, both the party MLAs and the lone MLC in the state legislature raised a banner of revolt against the decision to part ways with the NDA and staked claim on the party and its election symbol.
“The decision to sever ties with NDA has been taken unilaterally by Upendra Kushwaha. He can choose to pursue a political course the way he deems fit. But the RLSP has been an alliance partner of the NDA in the past and continues to remain that way,” said Lallan Paswan, estranged RLSP leader and one of the two party MLAs, who represents Chenari assembly segment.
A coup has been a possibility in the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) ever since Kushwaha rejected BJP’s seat offer for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as “less than respectable” and set a deadline for the saffron party to spell out the exact number of seats for respective allies latest by November 30.
His hard stance and indications of a ”political realignment of forces” in the state had triggered back-channel parleys between the two RLSP MLAs and the JD (U) and the BJP leadership to explore the possibility of sticking together with the NDA as a separate group, besides a representation in the state cabinet which is slated to be expanded.
While Harlakhi MLA Sudhansu Shekhar had tried his best to meet JD (U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor secretly in first half of November, the duo (Shekhar and Paswan) had later attended BJP legislature party meeting on November 27 to express their solidarity with the NDA.
Today, both Paswan and Shekhar, accompanied by RLSP MLC Sanjeev Shyam Singh, held a joint press conference to declare they did not subscribe to the “individualistic politics” pursued by Kushwaha and would stake claim on party’s election symbol as the “real RLSP”.
The three leaders also used the occasion to air their claim for representation in the state cabinet, committees and the RLSP quota of Lok Sabha seats earmarked for their group to assuage the feeling of party workers, who were peeved over the denial of honourable share in decision making.
The announcement has come a day ahead of the scheduled meeting of RLSP district presidents with Kushwaha, who is also slated to attend a function at SK Memorial Hall in the state capital to induct a leader.