New Delhi: Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha on Wednesday startled everyone when claimed that Nitish Kumar does not want to continue after 2020 assembly elections.

While addressing his party workers in Patna on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary, Kushwaha said that Nitish Kumar had confided in him that he doesn’t want to continue as chief minister beyond 2020 when the state gets to vote for a new government.

“I am neither doing any politics nor I am making any satirical comment on the CM, but he (Nitish Kumar) has himself expressed his desire not to continue beyond 2020. I have ruled for 15 years. How long will I be the CM,” Kushwaha quoted Kumar.

The union minister, whose party is a BJP ally, added that Nitish Kumar had spoken with “a heavy heart” when he had spoken to him about his intention a few months back.

His claim came as a surprise as neither Nitish Kumar nor his arty members have spoken about such a possibility.

Reacting to the statement, JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said Nitish Kumar was the chief minister by “virtue of people’s mandate and the legislators’ choice”.

This is not the first time that the RLSP chief has raised the issue of Nitish Kumar’s future as chief minister. In July, he had questioned the logic of going with Kumar as the National Democratic Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2020 state assembly polls.

Kushwaha’s statement on Wednesday comes after he met senior BJP leaders to bargain for more Lok Sabha seats in the state. At present, RLSP has three seats. Sources said this time they would get two seats as one of its MPs has parted ways with Kushwaha.

He also met leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav, hours after the press conference, but said no politics was discussed.