Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday (February 21) made light of the exit of Upendra Kushwaha from his JD(U) with the assertion that he was “least bothered”.
The JD(U) supremo recalled the reservations people in his party had with regard to the former Union minister’s induction in 2021 and wondered “why he came back in first place”.
“I had to put my foot down to facilitate his return. He had been saying that he wanted to spend his entire life in the party. I wonder what went wrong of late… But now that he has left, it is fine. We are least bothered,” said Kumar.
Also read: Upendra Kushwaha’s exit from JD(U) likely to dent votebank of Grand Alliance
Kushwaha had returned to the JD(U), merging his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, and was immediately rewarded with the designation of the JD(U) parliamentary board chief, besides membership of the legislative council which he has expressed the willingness to give up.
The veteran leader had on Monday quit the JD(U), and announced the formation of a new outfit, Rashtriya Loktantrik Janata Dal.
Kumar, who was responding to questions from journalists, was also asked about Kushwaha having said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced no challenge in 2024 and met BJP leaders here including state unit president Sanjay Jaiswal.
“You can very well draw your conclusions,” said Kumar with a wry smile.
Also read: Nitish Kumar rejects Kushwaha’s claim of JD(U) getting weak
Meanwhile, Kushwaha, who had formerly been an NDA ally as the RLSP chief and served in the first Narendra Modi administration, bitterly recalled that he was called a “BJP agent” while still in the JD(U).
He also said Jaiswal, with whom his spats in the run up to JD(U)s break up with BJP made headlines, was a “vyaktigat mitra” (personal friend) who had come to his residence to “congratulate” him.
Jaiswal said, “I am impressed by Kushwaha’s bold move. He has announced that he will give up his legislative council seat. Few people have the courage to sacrifice perks for their convictions and principles.”
Neither leader divulged much on the possibility of Kushwahas formal realignment with the BJP.
However, Kushwaha, who has taken exception to Nitish Kumar declaring his deputy Tejashwi Yadav as the future leader of the Mahagathbandhan, mocked at the cryptic statement of JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan on the issue.
Lalan has said in Delhi that “though Kumar maintained that the next elections would be fought under Tejashwi’s leadership, it is the elected members of the assembly who choose the CM and hence it is premature to say anything.
Kushwaha, responding to Lalan’s statement, said, “This shows the disarray in JD(U) wherein the national president sings a tune different from that of the supreme leader. The party, indeed is in shambles.”