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RLSP likely to announce formal break-up from NDA today

PTI|
Updated: Dec 06, 2018, 02.53 PM IST
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The RLSP had entered into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in 2014 and had won three Lok Sabha seats from Bihar.
The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), led by Upendra Kushwaha, is likely to sever ties with the NDA government and a formal announcement would be made on Thursday, a senior party leader has said.

He is also likely to put in his papers as Union minister, the leader said on condition of anonymity.

"That (Kushwaha's resignation) is just a formality which would be completed once he visits the national capital and meets the prime minister," the leader said.

Kushwaha, who is the minister of state for HRD in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, is scheduled to address a rally at Motihari on Thursday.

The party leader said the RLSP's tough stance made it amply clear that "our association with the NDA, which means the BJP and Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, is over for all practical purposes".

"We had no alliance with Nitish Kumar's JD(U) in any case. He returned to the coalition only last year, while we had been a part of the NDA since 2014."

After the BJP and the JD(U) offered the RLSP just two seats of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, Kushwaha had been publicly airing his disappointment with the saffron party. He had said that the number of seats the party was offered was not respectable and asked the BJP to do a rethink by November 30.

A Chintan Shivir of the RLSP was organised in this remote sanctuary in West Champaran in the wake of the BJP giving a cold shoulder to his ultimatum for finalising seat-sharing by November 30.

In a strongly-worded resolution, the RLSP expressed grave concern over many objectionable and unnecessary decisions taken by the BJP and the central government in the recent past.

"We are not opposed to construction of mosques and temples. But this is not the function of political parties and their meddling in such matters causes tension in the society and diverts the attention of the public from real issues," it said.

Raking up the issue of temple construction at Ayodhya ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the resolution said it "gives rise to the suspicion that the largest party in the coalition ruling the Centre, and some of its leaders, are deliberately trying to make the people forget about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment and get swayed by emotive issues. The party strongly condemns this attitude".

In the strongest criticism so far of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, the party said the chief minister's silence over scams during his rule give rise to the suspicion of his involvement in them and charged him with having capitulated before communal forces.

"Collapse of law and order has forced the people of the state to live in fear. The state government revels in its own gimmicks coming up with fanciful ideas like a five-year agriculture road map while turning a blind eye towards the problems faced by the peasantry.

"The party (RLSP) takes the pledge to dislodge this government from power in the state, deeming it necessary to usher in peace and prosperity, the resolution added.

The RLSP had entered into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in 2014 and had won three Lok Sabha seats from Bihar for 2014 general election namely Sitamarhi, Karakat and Jahanabad.

The party's future course of action was not clear even though the grand alliance constituents RJD, Congress and HAM have been wooing Kushwaha for long.

The Union minister has also been in talks with former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav who has formed his own party. There is speculation that two small parties are toying with the idea of a merger.

However, a spectre of a split also looms large on the RLSP with both its MLAs and lone MLC, besides one of its MPs, are said to be in touch with Kumar and keen on remaining in the NDA in the event of Kushwaha severing ties with it.
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