Leaders nominated by RLSP chief are in an advanced level of seat-sharing talks with RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) is all set to leave the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the coming days, with sources saying that leaders nominated by party president Upendra Kushwaha are in an advanced level of seat-sharing talks with RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav who is the de-facto leader of the “Grand Alliance” in Bihar.
Kushwaha for long has been miffed with Bihar Chief Minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar whom he has accused of playing the role of big brother in the alliance. Sources said that the proverbial last nail in the coffin came after BJP president Amit Shah, too, did not “do anything” on this issue or said anything to Nitish Kumar when he met him in Patna recently.
Sources said that the working president of RLSP, Nagmani, recently met Lalu Yadav in Mumbai where he had been admitted and spoke about the problems that the party was facing in NDA. According to sources in RLSP, Kushwaha, who is also Union Minister of HRD (State), had reached out to Lalu Yadav when he was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi, and both of them have managed to strike a “respectable seat sharing” arrangement.
Lalu Yadav, who is recuperating in Patna, apart from handling the seats for his own party, will also decide on the number of seats to be set aside for the Congress and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), which is led by former Bihar Chief Minister and prominent Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi. HAM is seeking at least five seats for his party. In the 2014 elections, the RJD had contested on 25 seats, Congress on 10 and RLSP on three. The RJD had won four seats, but got the second highest vote share (20.10%), Congress won two seats with vote share of 8.40 %, while LJP won three seats while getting 3% vote share. “We have given enough indications to Amit Shah (about the RLSP not being happy with the importance being given to JDU). As of now, nothing has been finalised between us and Laluji, but he too agrees that we deserve to be taken more seriously than how the BJP is treating us. In the present context, we will get a much better space in the ‘Grand Alliance’ than what we are getting in the NDA. Our leader Kushwaha has the support of Koeri, Kurmi and Dhanuk (Extremely Backward Class) who account for 20% vote share in the state. This is much more than the 2% vote share than Nitish Kumar has. The number of seats that we will contest will be decided soon, however, it is not going to be fewer than 6-8,” a party source in the RLSP said.