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Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party likely to merge with JD(U) today

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  • Kushwaha would be returning to the JD(U), a party which he left in 2013. The same year, he formed the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and was part of the NDA during 2014 Lok Sabha polls. His party contested on three seats and won all the seats.

PUBLISHED ON MAR 14, 2021 12:18 AM IST

The merger of former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) with his parent party JD(U) seems imminent and could happen as early as Sunday, people familiar with the developments said.

A senior JD(U) leader, on condition of anonymity, said the merger would take place on Sunday afternoon after the meeting of JD(U)’s state executive committee. “The state committee of the RLSP has authorised the national executive to take a decision on the merger and its decision will be announced on Sunday morning,” said senior RLSP leader Fazal Imam Malik.

A senior RLSP leader confirmed that the announcement was a mere formality, and the merger would take place on Sunday.

Kushwaha would be returning to the JD (U), a party which he left in 2013. The same year, he formed the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and was part of the NDA during 2014 Lok Sabha polls. His party contested on three seats and won all the seats. Kushwaha was made the Union minister of state for the human resource department. His party also contested on 23 seats during the 2015 assembly elections as an NDA ally and won on three seats. He, however, left NDA in 2018.

A section of leaders of the RLSP were not pleased with Kushwaha’s decision to become part of the JD (U) and some state and district level office bearers of the party joined the RJD on Friday. The RLSP leaders who joined the RJD in the presence of Tejashwi Yadav included state working president Virendra Kushwaha; state principal secretary general Nirmal Kushwaha and state head of women’s cell Madhu Manjari Mehta.

The Kushwaha-led party has a sizable support among the Kushwaha voters and its exit from the NDA fold cost JD(U) its traditional votes. Kushwaha had been to assembly and Rajya Sabha on a JD(U) ticket. The RLSP quit the NDA in December 2018 after the BJP refused to offer more than two seats to the RLSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections even as it went out of the way to accommodate Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).

A JD(U) leader feels that the Luv-Kush unity in Bihar (a term used in reference to Kurmi and Koeri caste) can become a potent factor in the revival of the JD (U). The Kushwahas and Kurmis together account for nearly 12% of Bihar’s population and have been a major vote bank of Nitish Kumar’s party.

Post-elections, Nitish Kumar has been busy consolidating his hold over the Kurmi-Koeri-Kushwaha vote bank in the wake of JD(U)’s dismal performance.

The RLSP chief is understood to have sensed the mood and sent feelers to the JD(U) camp through emissaries as well as during numerous meetings with Kumar in the recent past. In fact, no less than six meetings took place between the chief minister Nitish Kumar and Kushwaha in last two months.

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