The BJP's Bihar ally Upendra Kushwaha, who is not on the best of terms with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, met with opposition leader Sharad Yadav today, giving off more signals that he is exploring his options after a seat-sharing deal for the 2019 national polls that left him feeling short-changed.
Mr Kushwaha, a union minister and the chief of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, visited Sharad Yadav at his home in Delhi. He tweeted later that it was a courtesy call, but that did not set speculation at rest.
Despite his statements that he will remain with the NDA and work for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's re-election, his meetings with rival politicians and his steadily deteriorating ties with Nitish Kumar say otherwise.
He has accused Nitish Kumar of trying to poach his two legislators in Bihar assembly.
"Nitish Kumar has come down to destroying Upendra Kushwaha and his Party but he cannot cause any damage to me. He is a part of the NDA and so are we, he should not do such things," Mr Kushwaha told news agency ANI.
The chief minister's Janata Dal (United) reportedly contacted Mr Kushwaha's party men Sudhanshu Shekhar and Lalan Paswan on Sunday.
Mr Kushwaha met Sharad Yadav at the latter's residence in Delhi Monday morning and both the leaders discussed "current political situation in the country, especially in Bihar," said sources close to the union minister.
The relationship between Mr Kushwaha and Nitish Kumar's party touched a low after it emerged that the BJP and Nitish Kumar may contest an equal number of seats in Bihar in next year's national election, leaving the other two, smaller, NDA allies with a lesser share.
Mr Kushwaha's party, which had contested and won three seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is expected to be given not more than two seats to contest in 2019.
Mr Kushwaha said on Sunday he would request the BJP President Amit Shah to clear the "confusion" over seat-sharing between the NDA partners in Bihar at the earliest.
Since the Nitish-BJP pact, Mr Kushwaha has also met with opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, the son of RJD chief Lalu Yadav. His comment last month that one leader in Bihar did not want Narendra Modi to head the government at the Centre for another term had raised political heat.
Mr Kushwaha didn't name anyone but the comment was seen to be targeted at Nitish Kumar, who severed ties with the BJP in 2013 over its decision to project Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate for the general elections in 2014.
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