RASHTRIYA Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upen­dra Kush­waha on Thurs­day de­clared a “war” on the NDA but stopped short of an­nounc­ing a break-up with the BJP-led coali­tion.

“I have cat­e­gor­i­cally said it is a war. What more do you ex­pect me to say?” the Union min­is­ter, who has of­ten made pub­lic his un­hap­pi­ness over the seat­shar­ing is­sue for the Lok Sabha polls by crit­i­cis­ing the lead­er­ship of the BJP and the Janata Dal (United), told re­porters when asked if he was sev­er­ing ties with the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA).

The BJP and the JD(U) of­fered the RLSP just two seats of the to­tal 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bi­har. Kush­waha had said that the num­ber of seats the party was of­fered was not re­spectable and asked the BJP to do a re­think by Novem­ber 30. RLSP sources had hinted on Wed­nes­day that the party was likely to sever ties with the NDA gov­ern­ment and a for­mal an­nounce­ment would be made on Thurs­day.

At an open ses­sion of the party here, Kush­waha made a scathing at­tack on the BJP and quoted from poet Dinkar’s work Rash­mi­rathi the words of Lord Krishna ad­dressed to Dury­o­d­hana: “Since ges­ture of friend­ship has been spurned, I am an­nounc­ing the fi­nal re­solve that hence­forth, there would be no more sup­pli­ca­tion but a war.”

To ques­tions by re­porters, that he had left his stand vague and if he wanted the NDA to ex­pel him in­stead, Kush­waha dis­missed the sug­ges­tion and said he was not seek­ing to play a vic­tim card. “Only the first gen­er­a­tion makes sac­ri­fices. The sec­ond one rules,” Kush­waha said. Asked whether a meet­ing with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was on the cards, he said, “I need no­body’s per­mis­sion to meet any­one.”

On Wed­nes­day, the party’s na­tional gen­eral sec­re­tary and spokesper­son Mad­haw Anand had said that break-up with the NDA was likely to be an­nounced at the rally here and Kush­waha would also put in his pa­pers as Union min­is­ter after meet­ing the prime min­is­ter. Kush­waha is presently the min­is­ter of State for Hu­man Re­source Devel­op­ment (HRD) in the NDA at the Cen­tre.

Asked about the devel­op­ment on Thurs­day, he main­tained, “NDA in Bi­har is on the brink of a breakup. The for­mal an­nounce­ment could not be made be­cause of some tech­ni­cal is­sues. But we are not go­ing back on our stance. Kush­waha’s words that it will be a war (ran hoga) should leave no­body in doubt.”

At the rally, Kush­waha launched a blistering at­tack on the BJP for rak­ing up the Ram tem­ple is­sue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. “Po­lit­i­cal par­ties are not sup­posed to con­struct places of wor­ship. And the worst part is, the BJP is do­ing so only for elec­toral gains, else they would not have waited for more than four years after com­ing to power. Peo­ple nowa­days of­ten say it is no longer Atal Bi­hari Vajpayee’s BJP but Bharatiya Ju­mala Party,” he said, adding that the party’s top lead­er­ship was be­ing guided by those el­e­ments in Bi­har who have “ganged up” with Ni­tish Ku­mar and had ear­lier pro­jected him as a “prime min­is­ter ma­te­rial”. Kush­waha re­it­er­ated his ac­cu­sa­tion that the JD(U) chief had called him a “lowly per­son” and al­leged that his erst­while men­tor was try­ing to cause a split in the RLSP which com­prises, largely, dis­grun­tled el­e­ments from the JD(U).

Both the RLSP MLAs Lalan Paswan and Sud­han­shu Shekhar - and one of its MPs, Ram Ku­mar Sharma, all of whom have been op­posed to the party walk­ing out of the NDA, re­mained con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence at the rally.

Upen­dra Kush­waha

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