Disgruntled Janata Dal (United) leader Upendra Kushwaha on February 20 announced that he was quitting the party and floated his own political party, the Rashtriya Lok Janta Dal (RLJD). He has also been named the national president of the new party.
Soon after the announcement of the new party, he tendered his resignation from the Bihar legislative council also.
“This is a new political beginning and I make the announcement of a new political party Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal. As I have floated my new political party, I also quit from the primary membership of the JD(U) along with resignation as the member of Bihar legislative council,“ Mr. Kushwaha said in a hotel where he was accompanied by his supporters.
Before the formal announcement, he levelled serious charges against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and accused him of “mortgaging the political legacy”.
This is not the first time Mr. Kushwaha has parted ways with the JD(U) over differences with Mr. Kumar. He left the party in 2007 and 2013 as well and returned in 2009 and again in 2021. Earlier also, he formed a outfit, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), in 2013 but merged it with the JD(U) in 2021.
However, Mr. Kushwaha claimed that on both occasions, it was Mr. Kumar who had requested him to return to the party. The rebel leader had been continuously attacking the Chief Minister ever since Mr. Kumar started projecting Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as his successor.
On Monday also he said, “Why cannot he find a successor in his party, why is he searching for a successor at a neighbour’s house? The share which I was asking earlier, I realised that Nitish ji has left with no political assets because he has mortgaged the political assets. Nitish Kumar has nothing in his hand, he has zero assets now. He has mortgaged the political legacy. He is not taking any decision of his own but is listening to others who sit beside him,“ Mr. Kushwaha alleged.
For the past few months, there was speculation that Mr. Kushwaha was planning to return to the NDA fold as his role in the JD(U) has been limited largely due to the formation of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar.
Reacting to Mr. Kushwaha’s move, JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh categorically said that he would not make any impact. “This is not the first time he has left the party, earlier also he has done it and nothing has happened. I would like to give my best wishes to him with a request to stick to whatever he has decided. We have seen how badly he failed after forming the Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF) along with the BSP and the AIMIM in the 2020 Assembly poll,” Mr. Singh said.
BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “Upendra ji is clearly a socialist with greater ideological-moral values than Nitish-Lalan.”