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BJP’s Bihar ally Upendra Kushwaha quits NDA, says Modi reduced Cabinet to ‘rubber stamp’

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Bihar leader Upendra Kushwaha attacks PM Modi in letter, says ministers and officials have become mere ‘figureheads’, accuses govt of ‘toeing RSS agenda’.

New Delhi: Upendra Kushwaha Monday resigned as Union minister and severed ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of reducing the Union Cabinet to a “mere rubber stamp”.

The leader from Bihar, who heads the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), was unhappy with the BJP over reducing his party’s seat share for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The RLSP had won three Lok Sabha seats in 2014 but the BJP, the senior partner in the alliance, was disinclined to part with more than two.

In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Kushwaha said that ministers and officials have become mere “figureheads”. He alleged that decisions are being taken by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and BJP president Amit Shah, and termed it “anti-constitutional”. Kushwaha also accused the government of “toeing the agenda of the RSS”.

Upendra Kushwaha’s resignation letter | Accessed by ThePrint
Upendra Kushwaha
Upendra Kushwaha’s resignation letter | Accessed by ThePrint

The RSLP leader alleged that the priority of the NDA government was to “fix political opponents by hook or by crook”.

“Investigating agencies are being remote-controlled by your office and the BJP president with the sole purpose of harassing leaders with contrarian views,” he claimed.


Also read: BJP move to placate Nitish Kumar, upsets Bihar ally Upendra Kushwaha


Accusing the Prime Minister of neglecting the interests of Bihar and the OBCs, Kushwaha said he was pained by Modi’s “opaque style of functioning and non-democratic leadership style”.

“You have systematically dismantled the functioning of the Cabinet of the government that is mandated in our Constitution. The Union Cabinet has been reduced to a mere rubber stamp, 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 (which is anti-constitutional),” said Kushwaha, who was Union minister of state for human resource development.

Strained relationship

Ties between the RLSP and the BJP have been strained in recent months over the issue of seats. The senior alliance partner has maintained that it is not willing to negotiate on seats that it has offered to Kushwaha.

At a press conference in the national capital earlier today, Kushwaha, flanked by party MP Ram Kumar Sharma, alleged that the Janata Dal (United) was trying to break his party. Two RLSP MLAs are known to be in talks with the JD(U). Arun Kumar, one of three RLSP MPs, has already severed ties with Kushwaha.

Attacking Modi on social justice, Kushwaha alleged that in advertising positions for lecturers in universities, the government is flouting norms which provide for reservation for backward communities. “Even vice-chancellors are being appointed on discretion,” alleged Kushwaha.

“The government has been toeing the agenda of the RSS and neglecting and subverting the agenda of social justice enshrined in the Constitution for which we had supported the NDA,” said Kushwaha.

The move comes as a setback for the BJP ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls, and a big boost for the Opposition, specially in Bihar.

On whether he would join any alliance of Opposition parties, Kushwaha said that he will decide later: “Now that the door of the NDA is closed, other doors will open.”

At a rally in Bihar on December 6, Kushwaha had accused the BJP leadership of neglecting the well-being of allies. Party leaders said he had earlier meant to announce the split at the rally, but it was delayed due to “technical reasons”.


Also read: There’s disquiet among Bihar’s BJP MPs after seat sharing with Nitish Kumar


 

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