The three legislators – MLAs Sudhanshu Shekhar and Lalan Paswan and lone MLC Sanjiv Singh Shyam – claimed that Kushwaha took the decision while pursuing “personal interests”. “We are with the NDA from the beginning. We have no relations with Kushwahaji as he has been more interested in his personal gains and never paid heed to party workers,” said Shyam.
The legislators went on to claim that they would announce that they represent the real RLSP. Staking claims on the party, Sudhanshu said: “We are not defectors, we represent the real RLSP. We represent the sentiments of most workers and office bearers of the party. We will soon approach ECI with our claim.”
They also pitched for a ministerial birth for Sudhanshu, a first time MLA, in the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar. They made a joint statement to this effect at a press meeting in Patna on Saturday. Kushwaha is likely to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi next week, RLSP sources claimed. “There are chances of a meeting of our party president with top leaders in Congress high command over the next few days,” RLSP national general secretary Madhav Anand told TOI on Saturday evening.
Patel was accompanied by Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee working president Akhilesh Prasad Singh.
The move came five days after Kushwaha announced his RLSP’s exit from the BJP-led NDA, which he had joined in 2013. Kushwaha quit the NDA on the issue of possible denial of a “respectable number” of seats for his party in Bihar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He also attacked PM Modi for neglecting Bihar.
Rumors of rift in the RLSP had surfaced after Sudhanshu Shekhar and Lalan Paswan turned up at the legislator party meeting of the BJP during the winter session of the Bihar legislative Assembly last month.
Meanwhile, RLSP has accused Nitish and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi of causing feud in the party. “Nitish and Sushil Modi are directly responsible for creating a divide in our party.But our party will remain intact and those who are taking the spate path are doing it with their own political motives,” Madhav said.