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RLSP 'ajooba' party whose legislators still with NDA: BJP mocks Kushwaha

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: December 20, 2018  | 22:03 IST

Patna, Dec 20 (PTI) The BJP Thursday mocked RSLP chief and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha for joining the UPA, describing the party (RSLP) as "ajooba" (peculiar) whose chief has gone into the Opposition camp while all three legislators and an MP were still "firmly with the NDA". The RLSP legislators in Bihar also affirmed that they were in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) camp. "Both the MLAs and one MLC of the party (RLSP) have unanimously announced that we are with the NDA. We are with the coalition which RLSP has been a part of. Upendra Kushwaha has taken a decision at variance with the party's sentiments," party MLA Sudhanshu Shekhar told PTI over phone. "In fact, Kushwaha has gone against the party line and we would soon approach the Election Commission with our claim that we are the real RLSP. We have the support of many party leaders, including an MP," he said while declining to divulge any names. Speculations are rife that Shekhar, a first-term MLA who represents Harlakhi seat in Madhubani district, may get a ministerial berth in the state government headed by Nitish Kumar who was close to his deceased father Basant Kushwaha. The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) has two members in the state legislature - Lalan Paswan and Sudhanshu Shekhar - besides MLC Sanjiv Singh Shyam, all of whom had last week pledged their support to the NDA. Meanwhile, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who is at present on a tour of the US, took to microblogging site Twitter for offering his caustic remark on the development. Upendra Kushwaha's move to join the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was announced at the AICC headquarters in Delhi in the presence of senior Congress leaders like Ahmed Patel and Shaktisinh Gohil besides RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav and Hindustani Awam Morcha founder Jitan Ram Manjhi, who are the other alliance partners of the UPA in Bihar. "Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and even Ajit Singh did not give any importance to the Congress despite its recent victory in three states. The party is being hailed by those in Bihar whose fate is hanging between the court of law and jail," Sushil Modi said in an obvious dig at the RJD which is the senior coalition partner, of the 'mahagathbandhan', in the state. Without naming Kushwaha or the RLSP, the BJP leader remarked, "An ajooba (peculiar) party has also joined the Grand Alliance... two MLAs, an MLC and an MP of which are firmly with the NDA". The RLSP has three members in the Lok Sabha, including Kushwaha, and one of them - Sitamarhi MP Ram Kumar Sharma - had initially favoured the party staying in the NDA. However, Sharma later changed his stance and spoke in favour of snapping of ties and stood beside Kushwaha in Delhi on December 10 when the latter announced his resignation from the Union council of ministers and exit from the NDA. Meanwhile, JD(U) national vice president Prashant Kishor called upon "existing and potential NDA allies" to make "joint efforts" for achieving victory in the Lok Sabha polls. "Joint efforts and collective strength of existing and potential NDA allies is key to the success in upcoming 2019 elections. All key constituents of the coalition must work toward this," Kishor, who was inducted into the party by its national president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar three months ago, tweeted. Kishor's remark came at a time when discordant noises are being made by Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, another NDA ally which has been raising objections over the use of Ayodhya as a poll plank and expressing dissatisfaction with smaller parties having been ignored, while the JD(U) and the BJP reached an agreement to contest "an equal number of seats in the state". PTI NAC SNS SRY

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