- Upendra Kushwaha said he won't attend meet of BJP, its allies
- He may announce parting of ways with BJP today, sources said
- Mr Kushwaha upset over seat-sharing for 2019 national polls
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bihar ally Upendra Kushwaha quit the government and exited the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today in a move anticipated for months because of his growing resentment with the ruling party and its seat-share deal another ally, Nitish Kumar, for the 2019 national polls. "I stand dejected and betrayed by your leadership," Mr Kushwaha said in an acrid letter to PM Modi.
Mr Kushwaha is expected to join a big opposition meet to discuss a common strategy to fight the BJP next year.
The chief of the RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party) had been flirting with the opposition for some time and met with Congress president Rahul Gandhi this morning before sending his resignation to PM Modi.
"You have systematically dismantled the functioning of the cabinet that is mandated in the constitution. The union cabinet has been reduced to a mere rubberstamp, simply endorsing your decision without any deliberation. Ministers and officers posted in ministries have become figureheads as virtually all decisions are taken by you, your office and the BJP president," the minister of state wrote in his resignation letter.
He also alleged that the government's priority was "not to work for the poor and oppressed, but to fix political opponents by hook or crook."
Mr Kushwaha leaves the NDA minus his two state lawmakers or parliamentarian Arun Kumar, who had floated his own party earlier. But his exit triggers political realignment in Bihar, which has 40 seats, just before the national election.
It is a huge boost for the opposition, especially for RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, who has taken charge of the opposition in Bihar since his father was jailed for corruption last year.
Mr Kushwaha had been feeling short-changed since the BJP struck a even-steven seat deal with Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister, last month.
The message for Mr Kushwaha was that he would not be given more than two seats to contest in the Lok Sabha election. Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
His first public expression of revolt came in a strongly-worded statement by the RLSP expressing concern over what it believed were objectionable and unnecessary decisions taken by the BJP and the central government. "We are not opposed to construction of mosques and temples. But this is not the function of political parties and their meddling in such matters causes tensions in the society and diverts the attention of the public from real issues," said the party's resolution.
On the growing chorus for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya by BJP's leaders and allies, RLSP's resolution said it "gives rise to the suspicion that the largest party in the coalition ruling the centre, and some of its leaders, are deliberately trying to make the people forget about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment and get swayed by emotive issues. The party strongly condemns this attitude".