Patna: The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on Monday slammed RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha for using "pressure tactics" to finalise a seat-sharing arrangement between NDA partners in Bihar by November 30 and cautioned the Union minister against "rowing in two boats".
In one of the strongest criticisms of Kushwaha, LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan also disapproved of the RLSP chief's frequent outbursts against Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar. He said Kushwaha should make up his mind whether he wishes to continue in NDA or not, possibly referring to the RLSP chief's meeting with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav last month.
"By setting a deadline and taking a stand that you will not talk to anybody except the prime minister, you are taking recourse to pressure tactics. Besides, he keeps on speaking against the chief minister. You cannot go on speaking against NDA constituents while being a part of the coalition. It is like rowing in two boats," Paswan said.
Kushwaha has said the number of seats his party has been offered by the NDA for the 2019 Lok Sabha election was "not respectable" and has asked the BJP to rethink it by November 30. He has criticised Kumar on several issues, including governance, and accused him of trying to break his party. He has alleged that he was not being given his due at the behest of Kumar, who returned to the NDA last year, and underscored that his party had an alliance with the BJP and not the JD(U). NDA in Bihar comprises BJP, JD(U), LJP, and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.
The LJP's blunt comment on Monday suggested that Kushwaha's support among partners within the National Democratic Alliance was diminishing as Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had previously taken a dig at him for his continuous tirade against Kumar. Kushwaha is a former JD(U) leader, who floated his own party in 2013.
After the BJP and the JD(U) announced they would contest equal number of seats in Bihar in next Lok Sabha polls last month, Kushwaha demanded that his party be given more seats than it was allotted during the 2014 elections, when the RLSP fought and won three seats. He has said that he has spoken to BJP chief Amit Shah on telephone but henceforth he would not make attempts to contact any leader on the seat-sharing issue and would only try to talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprise him of the situation.
On Sunday, Kushwaha said he was in favour of Modi returning as prime minister in 2019, "but will not tolerate any insult". In 2014 polls, BJP, LJP and RLSP had together won 31 seats out of the total 40 in Bihar. The BJP had bagged 22 seats and the LJP six. But, with the return of the JD(U) in the NDA last year after the Grand Alliance disintegrated, the equation has changed within the grouping this time.
On the Ayodhya issue, Paswan reiterated the party's stand that a Supreme Court verdict on the matter should be awaited. "Construction of Ram temple has always been on BJP's agenda. It has been in the party's election manifestoes. However, even Amit Shah has said he would await the apex court's hearing on the title suit, due in January," Paswan said.
He, however, said if the BJP government thinks that an ordinance should be brought to facilitate the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, then the exercise must be preceded by a discussion with all NDA partners.