The internal crisis in the Janata Dal (United) shows signs of deepening after chief minister Nitish Kumar and senior party leader Upendra Kushwaha took potshots at each other, days after the latter had alleged that the party had become weak and that many leaders within were in touch with the BJP.
Speaking on the sidelines of a function in Patna, chief minister Kumar said, “Only those who keep speaking… go to the BJP. The sooner someone wants to go, the more he keeps saying.”
Chief minister Kumar, who leads the Mahagatbandhan, an alliance helmed by the JD(U), RJD and the Congress with support from the left, said that he had not stopped anyone from leaving, and leaders could “come and go” as they please. “Our party has not become weak. These are false allegations, let people say whatever they want. The party has become stronger than before. Membership has increased from 45 lakh to 75 lakh as compared to earlier”.
Earlier, chief minister Kumar had pointed out that Kushwaha had a history of “coming and going” from the party, and he was free to take his own call. Kushwaha, currently the party’s parliamentary board chairman and an MLC had merged his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party(RLSP) with the JD (U) in 2021.
Reacting to Kumar’s comments, Kushwaha said that he would not leave without “taking his share.” Kushwaha tweeted in Hindi, “If younger brothers start leaving the house at the behest of the elder brother like this, then every elder brother will drive their younger brothers away usurp all the property bequeathed by the father and grandfather.”
A JD (U) leader, requesting anonymity, said Kushwaha could end up like former national president RCP Singh, who quit the party in August 2022 after disagreements with the leadership. “Singh too called Nitish his leader but expressed his reservations towards the leadership of national president Rajeev Ranjan Singh. Kushwaha is also following the same path,” said the senior JD (U) leader.
Kushwaha, on Tuesday, had warned Kumar of a “conspiracy being hatched to weaken him” and wanted the party leadership to reveal the contours of a “deal” with the Rashtriya Janata Dal. He had also claimed that “he stood by Kumar whenever he was attacked but other party leaders remained quiet”.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United)’s rebellious parliamentary board president, Upendra Kushwaha, has said he won’t quit and would “fight to save the party”.
Addressing a press conference at his official residence here, Kushwaha, who is also a member of the legislative council, also made it clear that he will not quit just because Nitish Kumar, the JDU chief, asked him to do so.
Earlier in the day, Nitish Kumar said Kushwaha had quit the party several times in the past.
To this, the JDU leader replied, “I have parted ways and returned only twice. My first comeback was in 2009, when Nitish Kumar requested that I return to a public function. My return in 2021 was again followed by the helpless pleadings of Kumar, who had become very vulnerable at the time.”
The JDU leader also sought to remind Kumar of personal insults delivered by RJD ally Tejashwi Yadav on the floor of the Assembly when the latter was the opposition leader.
“Will not leave JDU at the behest of Nitish or anyone. Will fight to save JDU,” he said.
“It appears the CM is not able to distinguish between apne [his own people] and paraaye [whose loyalties were elsewhere]. Unfortunately, such people have become his advisers. And it seems he is being guided by such people, not able to exercise his own judgement”, alleged Kushwaha.
JDU vs JDU
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked his party colleague Upendra Kushwaha to quit the JDU.
Kushwaha retorted, saying that he could not leave the party without his share.
This came amid speculation about Kushwaha ‘being in touch’ with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Reacting to the speculation about Upendra Kushwaha’s alleged proximity with the BJP, Nitish Kumar said that he will meet Kushwaha and discuss it.
Courtesy Hindustan Times