RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha address to party workers during a function in Patna (Photo Source: PTI)
Upendra Kushwaha, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief, who had recently quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the saffron party’s “arrogance” towards the smaller allies, on Thursday joined Congress-RJD-led grand alliance in Bihar. Confirming the news of Kushwaha joining the Bihar grand alliance, Congress's Ahmed Patel said, "There is a gathbandhan in Bihar, it's a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance)".
A crucial meeting with Congress and RJD leaders to okay the seat-sharing pact in Bihar for the next year’s Lok Sabha elections is currently underway in the national capital. Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) founder Jitan Ram Manjhi also took part in the meeting. According to sources, the seat-sharing formula has already been finalised and an official announcement regarding that is likely to be made at a joint press conference this afternoon.
"Leaders of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, including Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi and Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, at AICC office in Delhi. RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha also present," the news agency ANI reported.
Leaders of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, including Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Shaktisinh Gohil in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/apmwLHsu1U— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2018
Speaking to media, Kushwaha said, "We had said that we have many options and UPA was one of them. The wholeheartedness shown by Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav is one of the reasons I joined but the biggest reason I'm here is the people of Bihar".
On Sunday, Patel had met Kushwaha in Delhi, giving a further boost to the speculations of him joining the anti-BJP alliance in Bihar. JDU rebel and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav may also be a part of the alliance.
Possible seat sharing scenario in Bihar:
Congress: 8-12 seats
RJD: 18-20 seats
RLSP: 4-5 seats
CPM, CPI, CPI(ML): 1 seat
Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM-S: 1-2 seats
On December 10, Kushwaha quit as a Union minister and pulled out his support from the BJP-led led alliance, accusing PM Modi of reducing the cabinet to a "rubber stamp". Kushwaha also warned smaller NDA allies that they will also face the same arrogance as he did.