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Bihar's Ruling Party Loses Key Figure With Upendra Kushwaha Quitting

© Photo : Social mediaUpendra Khushwaha
Upendra Khushwaha - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.02.2023
Upendra Kushwaha bickered with State Chief Nitish Yadav in public for months since Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD was declared the future leader of their alliance.
A key member of the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in India's Bihar state quit the party following months of speculation about his future plans.
Upendra Khushwaha, a former federal minister, was once well-known to be a close-aide of JD-U leader Kumar. But he turned a bitter critic since Kumar opted to join hands with their arch-rival Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party, deserting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Kushwaha will head a new political party, and his exit is being viewed as a setback to Kumar, who has ramped up his efforts to unite the opposition to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP in the 2024 parliamentary polls.
"We've decided to form a new party - Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal. This has been decided unanimously. I've been made its national president. The party will take forward the legacy of Karpoori Thakur (late key politician from the state). We'll work towards rejecting the agreement made with RJD," Kushwaha told reporters at a media briefing on Monday.
Kushwaha has been alleging for months that Kumar made a political compromise by publicly backing Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD as the next State Chief in 2025 when assembly polls are due in the state.
Kushwaha further claimed that Nitish hurt the sentiments of thousands of JD(U) workers by not taking their views on the leadership issue and he should have consulted the party's parliamentary board before announcing Tejashwi as his successor in Bihar.
"In the beginning, how Nitish Kumar worked it helped Bihar. But now his ways are not good for the state. The path adopted by Nitish ji now, is unfortunate not only for the party but also for the people of Bihar," he added.
However, with 79 lawmakers in the 243-member assembly, RJD is the largest party in the legislative house while the JD(U) is way behind with 45 legislators.
This is Kushwaha's second exit from the JD(U) after his previous departure from the Bihar-based political party in 2013 when he tied up with the BJP before becoming a federal minister during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first stint from 2014 to 2019.