The RLSP is, at present, an ally of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
Patna: Speculation is rife within the political circle that Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha is likely to contest the next state Assembly elections in alliance with the RJD.
According to reports, Mr Kushwaha recently met RJD chief Lalu Yadav in Patna to discuss the future course of action. Sources said Mr Yadav also urged Mr Kushwaha to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a member of the Grand Secular Alliance.
“First round of meeting took place in Patna recently where they discussed poll-related issues,” RJD top sources told this newspaper.
Sources claim that the RJD chief may also project Mr Kushwaha as the chief ministerial candidate for the 2020 Assembly elections if he agrees to leave the NDA before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The RLSP is, at present, an ally of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Any decision in this regard could cause a major dent to the NDA’s vote bank in Bihar as Mr Kushwaha has the support of Koeris, which is considered one of the powerful OBC castes after Yadav.
Political analysts say that Mr Yadav, who had floated the M-Y (Muslim–Yadav) combination in the 1990s, is now targeting Koeris, which forms around 7 per cent votes in Bihar.
The RJD’s vote share has been about 18-20 per cent in the last four elections, even after losing power in 2005. Political experts say that Muslims and Yadavs, which form 30 per cent of Bihar’s population, consider Mr Yadav as their messiah.
RLSP insiders said that it was party senior leader Nagmani who floated the idea of projecting Upendra Kushwaha as next the chief minister of Bihar and also organised a meeting between Mr Yadav and Mr Kushwaha.
When contacted about his reaction on the issue, Mr Nagmani told this newspaper that “we can’t ignore what people of Kushwaha community want. Upendra Kushwaha is a popular leader and has the capability to become the chief minister of Bihar”.
Though Mr Nagmani didn’t confirm whether the two leaders met secretly to discuss poll-related issues, he, however, didn’t rule out the eventual possibility of RLSP going with the RJD if they supported the idea of projecting Mr Kushwaha as their next CM face.
Sources claim that Mr Kushwaha has been giving hints that he is not comfortable with Nitish Kumar’s return to NDA fold. In July when JD(U) formed the government with the NDA in Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar had refused to induct RLSP members in his Cabinet.