The party had been offered nine Lok Sabha seats by mahagathbandhan; one-third of these are to be offered to Sharad Yadav who will merge his Loktantrik Janata Dal in RLSP
New Delhi: While Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief and Bihar’s self-proclaimed OBC heavyweight Upendra Kushwaha might have ignominiously quit the NDA, resigned his position in the council of ministers and his Lok Sabha seat, he is in no mood to relent.
Breaking first on MyNation, RLSP sources said they had plans to upset the NDA’s applecart not just in Bihar, but also in neighbouring states such as Uttar Pradesh, which have a sizeable OBC population, in the upcoming 2019 general elections.
However, RLSP sources confirmed to MyNation that the two party MLAs in Bihar were rather willing to stay with the NDA.
The RLSP leadership has already asked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to use Kushwaha for campaigning in UP for the 2019 elections.
The party is already planning a campaign blueprint for UP in which chief Kushwaha would be used as star campaigner to underline the “shabby treatment” given to OBCs inside NDA.
In yet another exclusive piece of information with MyNation, insiders revealed that RLSP has been offered nine Lok Sabha seats by the Mahagathbandhan. While on six seats RLSP candidates would contest directly, the remaining three have been granted to Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) president and yet another Nitish Kumar-baiter Sharad Yadav. Yadav would soon announce merger of his political outfit with RLSP.
Party leader Shivraj Singh told MyNation that RLSP would be joining forces with the Mahagathbandhan for the 2019 polls. “We have a votebank equally big as Ram Vilas Paswan. Our leaving the NDA amid acrimony only creates a negative impact for the NDA in other states too where OBCs are in large numbers,” Singh said.
Kushwaha belongs to the Koeri community or sub-caste that accounts for some 6% of voters in Bihar, which the RLSP chief has been touting as his bargaining chip.
The BJP had seen that Kushwaha had proved quite useless politically in the last 2015 Bihar assembly polls when RLSP had strong-armed the BJP to give it 23 seats to contest, but had lost all but two. While the party had won all the three Lok Sabha seats it was given by the BJP in 2014 general elections, the victories had been largely attributed to the Modi wave.
Moreover, Kushwaha’s enmity with Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Kumar is largely responsible for his political behaviour. Kushwaha had been projecting himself as the primary face of OBCs, and thus attempting to dwarf Kumar’s OBC politics. Recently, Kumar had responded by organising a caste congregation of Koeri-Kurmi castes in Patna in October.
While Kushwaha is Koeri by caste, Kumar is Kurmi and so far the former has not been able to dent Kumar’s OBC bastion as the two castes, often referred to as Luv-Kush, have rallied behind Kumar as a single entity.
Meanwhile, MyNation reached out to several Koeri community leaders on the ground in Bihar who said they were pained by the developments and that they sympathised with Kushwaha.
Political analysts watching Bihar believe, on the other hand, that while vote-
bank figures are stacked in favour of Kushwaha, at least on paper, it was still early to predict if these figures could be converted into actual votes, as had happened in the 2015 state elections.
Moreover, the dominant political wisdom at this point seems to be that Kushwaha might be able to dent NDA politics in the next Bihar elections, but his challenge in the 2019 general elections was rather quite weak.
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Last Updated Dec 10, 2018, 6:26 PM IST