A day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made a comment that his party leader Upendra Kushwaha had left the party twice or thrice before, Mr. Kushwaha on Sunday said that several top JD(U) leaders were in touch with the BJP “as per convenience”, as the JD(U) had weakened.
After merging his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) into the JD(U) in 2021, Mr. Kushwaha became the chairman of JD(U)’s parliamentary board. He is also currently the Member of the State Council (MLC).
Mr. Kushwaha is an old associate of Nitish Kumar and was made the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly in 2000, but parted ways in 2005 to join the National Congress Party (NCP). He returned to the JD(U) in 2010 and became a Rajya Sabha member. However, he quit both in 2013.
He floated RLSP which later became part of the NDA in 2014. His party won three Lok Sabha seats. Mr. Kushwaha then became the Union of State for Human Resources Department but in the 2019 general election and the 2020 State Assembly poll, his party RLSP drew a blank. Later, he merged his party into the JD(U) in March 2021.
The ambitious Mr. Kushwaha was said to be unhappy with his party’s decision to come out of the NDA fold to form a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) government in the State along with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and other smaller parties. The buzz in the State’s political circle was that Mr. Kushwaha was putting pressure on the party’s top leadership for the post of Deputy Chief Minister, along with Tejashwi Yadav.
In touch with BJP
Sources claim that he was in touch with some BJP leaders who had recently visited him at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi where he was admitted for a routine medical check-up. A picture of some State BJP leaders like Prem Ranjan Patel, Sanjay Tiger and Yogendra Paswan visitng Mr. Kushwaha at the hospital, had triggered speculations that he would be switching sides to the BJP again.
“The bigger the JD(U) leaders are, the more they are in touch with the BJP leaders. The issue is that the JD(U) is getting weak and I am trying to make it strong,” Mr. Kushwaha told media persons at the Patna airport after his trip to Delhi. When reminded of what Chief Minister Nitish Kumar felt about his earlier defection, Mr. Kushwaha said, “Even his party had gone to the BJP as per its convenience.”
“When I have to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, I do not need any medium for this…can speak to him in minutes,” Mr. Kushwaha added in response to Mr. Kumar’s remark to media persons, where the CM asked to communicate with him (CM).
“I was admitted in a Delhi hospital but people did my post-mortem here in Patna,” said an indignant Mr. Kushwaha.
Earlier on January 21, while speaking to media persons in Gaya as part of his Samadhan Yatra (solution journey) across the State, Mr. Kumar said that he could not gauge Mr. Kushwaha’s intentions. When asked about the AIIMS’ visit by some BJP leaders, Mr. Kumar dismissed it saying that Mr. Kushwaha had gone for treatment where anyone could visit him. He stated that he would confirm the same with Mr. Kushwaha.
“I was admitted in a Delhi hospital but people did my post-mortem here in Patna”Upendra KushwahaJD(U) leader