PATNA: Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha on Saturday fired a fresh salvo at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership, saying a person who heads towards doom loses his reasoning. His remark comes a day after his November 30 deadline to the BJP for NDA seat sharing in Bihar ended.
Quoting a stanza in Hindi composed by poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, the RLSP chief said: "Jab nash manush par chhatha hain, pahle vivek maar jatha hain" (as a person heads towards doom he loses his reasoning).
Kushwaha claimed that he had sought time with BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi but his request was unheard. "I do not know why neither Shah (Amit) nor Modi (Narendra) gave me an appointment. They may have had other preoccupations. But there are other modes of communication. There could have been at least a phone call," he said.
Kushwaha, however, added that he will stay in NDA fold if the Nitish government accepted his 25 demands to improve the education system in the state. "I am ready to bear all humiliations if the government accepts our demands," he said.
RLSP will be holding a two-day brainstorming session at Valmikinagar on December 4-5 in West Champaran after which Kushwaha is likely to make a big announcement at a public meeting on December 6.
He had on November 17 served an ultimatum to the BJP to finalise the seat sharing formula between the NDA partners in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Kushwaha is now insistent that he will only meet the Prime Minister on the issue.
Kushwaha has been voicing his dissent over the seat distribution ever since Amit Shah announced that the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JDU will contest on equal number of seats out of the total 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar.
The BJP has offered two seats to RLSP which the party has rejected saying that it deserves a "respectable" share in the seat sharing arrangement. Kushwaha's party had won all the three seats it had contested in 2014 in Bihar with the BJP. However, with the return of JDU in the coalition, the equation changed.
His remarks have further fuelled speculation that he may quit the NDA in favour of 'mahagathbandhan' comprising RJD, Congress and HAM of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Kushwaha came into political prominence after Nitish Kumar backed him as the leader of opposition in Bihar assembly in 2004 despite the fact that it was his first outing as an MLA, but later fell out with the JDU chief and floated RLSP.
Kushwaha aligned with the BJP in the last Parliamentary election, while the JDU was part of the grand alliance with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.
The Congress, which is the second largest constituent of the opposition Grand Alliance, urged Kushwaha to make haste and come out of the NDA. "It is now amply clear that the BJP is going to give short shrift to Kushwaha. On the other hand, the Mahagathbandhan has been waiting with open arms. The RLSP chief must not drag his feet now," Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra said.
However, the BJP seem to be confident that Kushwaha is not going to quit the NDA. "Setting up frequent deadlines and extending the same say a lot about his inclination. I cannot comment on his grievances.... But we do have just one complaint against Kushwaha. He keeps airing his grievances before the media, though he has no need to do so. He is a member of the Union Council of Ministers. He is bound to have meetings with the Prime Minister where he can express his concerns," BJP MLA and Bihari unit vice-president Mithilesh Tiwari said.