Hours after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) announced the seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) leader Upendra Kushwaha took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The former union minister, in an apparent reference to PM Modi, said that those having '56-inch chest' were forced to bow down to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and share an equal number of seats with the Janata Dal-United (JDU). He added that the people don't care the number of seats a party fights on.
"BJP k log zyada kehte the ki 56-inch ka seena hai, toh 56- inch ke seena wale natmastak hogye Nitish Kumar ji ke saamne, aur aadha-aadha batwara kar diya. Kisko kitni seeton pe ladna hai isse janta ko koi matlab nahi hai. (BJP used to say that its a 56-inch chest. But those with 56-inch chest had to bow down before Nitish Kumar and share equal seats. People don't care the number of seats a party fights on.)", said Kushwaha.
In a joint press conference, leaders of the NDA announced the seat-sharing arrangement by which the BJP and JDU will contest on 17 seats each while the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will fight on 6 seats.
In a show of unity, the announcement was made by BJP president Amit Shah, JDU chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan together. The BJP and the JDU also agreed to give a Rajya Sabha seat to LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan.
Shah said the parties have agreed to contest under the leadership of PM Modi and win more seats in Bihar in 2019 than it did in 2014. Of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the BJP had won 22 out of 30 it contested while the LJP won six out of seven it contested.
Kushwaha-led RLSP had won all three seats it contested as part of the NDA alliance in 2014 elections but walked out of the alliance earlier this month after seat-sharing talks failed with his party. Kushwaha has agreed to contest the 2019 elections as a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance.
He later joined hands with the Mahagathbandhan. Talks between Kushwaha and UPA constituents had reportedly been taking place since RLSP formally broke ties with BJP.
Kushwaha had said that he felt he should join people who feel for the common man. "We felt that our role in NDA was being clamped down upon. We feel no one was really focusing on the plight of people in Bihar and so, we wanted to go to people who truly feel for citizens. UPA is one such place," he said, adding that he felt insulted by Bihar CM.