Kushwaha merges RLSP with JD(U), gets rewarded with top party post

Patna, Mar 14 (PTI):
Bihar’s ruling JD(U) on Sunday received a shot in the arm with the merger of RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha, a former protege of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who came back under his wing nine years after having fallen apart. The merger took place at the JD(U) state headquarters here, where the chief minister welcomed Kushwaha, a former Union minister, by presenting him with a bouquet.
Top JD(U) leaders like Rajeev Ranjan Singh alias Lalan, Sanjay Kumar Jha and Vashisth Narayan Singh and key office bearers of the now dissolved RLSP like Madhaw Anand and Fazl Imam Mallick were also present. The much-anticipated reunion, likely to be mutually beneficial, comes on the back of hectic parleys between the two leaders in the recent past. Soon after he was inducted into the JD(U), Kumar announced Kushwaha’s appointment as the national parliamentary board president “with immediate effect”. Kushwaha, who brings on table his support base of the sizeable Koeri caste, vowed to make the JD(U) “the number one party” in Bihar and said that after having been witness to “many ups and downs” as the RLSP founding chief, he looked forward to making use of his experience under the guidance of Nitish Kumar.
Kushwaha was in political wilderness since his exit from NDA in 2017. Feeling “stifled” in the RJD-led Grand Alliance, he quit the coalition ahead of the assembly elections last year and ended up facing political isolation notwithstanding the support of his Koeri community which is the second most populous OBC group in Bihar after the Yadavas. Kumar, who is serving his fourth consecutive term in power, has suffered a diminution in clout on account of the JD(U)’s unimpressive performance in the assembly elections which saw him lose the upper hand to the BJP.

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