Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief Upendra Kushwaha on Monday dared Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha poll and claiming that even a humble worker of his party was capable of defeating the veteran BJP leader in an electoral contest.
The former union minister made the remark while replying to a recent comment by state BJP president Nityanand Rai who had said that he would seek re-election from Ujiyarpur Lok Sabha seat and challenged Mr Kushwaha, besides RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav, to engage with him in an electoral fight.
“What to say on his comments. The senior most leader of his party Sushil Kumar Modi has been shy of contesting elections and choosing the legislative council route. I challenge Modi to contest the polls. Even a humble activist of the RLSP is capable of defeating him. Let the Deputy CM and his party accept this challenge,” Mr Kushwaha who quit the NDA and joined the Grand Alliance last month- told reporters.
A three-term MLA from the now abolished Patna Central segment and a parliamentarian from Bhagalpur Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Modi got elected to the state legislative council in 2005 when he
gave up his parliamentary seat to take over as the Deputy Chief Minister. He has remained a leader of the Upper House since then.
Incidentally, the BJP leader was also the leader of the opposition in the state assembly until 2004 when he was replaced by Mr Kushwaha as the JD(U) following the merger of Samata Party became the opposition party with the largest number of MLAs.
Recently, Mr Kushwaha had also accused Mr Modi of helping Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in poaching his legislators while his party was still in the NDA. During the winter session of the state legislature, both MLAs of the RLSP had raised many eyebrows when they attended a BJP meeting held at the Deputy CM’s residence.
The two RLSP MLAs Lalan Paswan and Sudhanshu Shekhar have distanced themselves from Kushwahas decision to switch sides and declared that they would seek recognition from the Election Commission as a separate group.
Replying to a query about a number of Muslim organizations urging both the NDA and the Grand Alliance to field at least 10 candidates from the minority community in the state which has 40 Lok Sabha seats, Kushwaha said even if the BJP-led coalition agrees to the proposal, the minorities would not vote for a party or even its alliance partners which makes issues like Ram temple a poll plank.
Observing that the route to New Delhi would pass through Bihar, the RLSP chief asserted the Mahagathbandhan will come to power in the Centre with a two-third majority.