Ex-Minister Upendra Kushwaha, Who Quit NDA,To Join Grand Alliance Today

Ex-Minister Upendra Kushwaha, Who Quit NDA,To Join Grand Alliance Today

NEW DELHI: Former union minister Upendra Kushwaha is likely to join the grand alliance of opposition parties today, a week after he quit the BJP-led alliance complaining of "arrogance". The chief of the Bihar-based Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) is likely to make an announcement at a press conference later today along with RJD's Tejashwi Yadav and the Congress.

Congress leader Sadanand Singh said a meeting of Bihar Mahagathbandhan leaders will be held at 4 pm for seat sharing. "I believe Rahul Ji (Rahul Gandhi) has called them to have an initial discussion on the seat sharing in Bihar for Lok Sabha elections," he said.

Stating that he was "more than willing" to join a grand alliance of opposition parties, Mr Kushwaha had yesterday said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had evolved into a mature leader and "is a likely option for replacing Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister next year".

Mr Kushwaha hit out at his former National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies. "People of the NDA have become arrogant, particularly Nitish Kumar in the context of Bihar. It was this conceit that made us split from them," Mr Kushwaha told ANI.

He urged another NDA ally, Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), to quit the alliance. "Others will not be safe from this arrogance either. The LJP must also come out of the alliance as soon as possible. These people have decided to destroy small parties, and if the LJP also gets the same feeling, they must exit the alliance at the earliest too," he said.

The RLSP, which has three members in parliament, pulled out of the NDA on December 10 after weeks of seething over the BJP's seat-sharing deal with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which left smaller parties with lesser seats to contest in the 2019 national polls.

"Having served in your council of ministers for last 55 months, I stand dejected and betrayed by your leadership. There has been fundamental problem in what you promised to the people before elections and what you have actually delivered after coming to power," Mr Kushwaha wrote in his resignation letter.

Now Mr Paswan's party is pressing for six seats in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha and has warned that it won't settle for less.

Mr Kushwaha has been bonding with opposition leaders including those from the Congress.