Patna, Dec. 9: Upendra Kushwaha today resigned from the Rajya Sabha and the JD(U) in protest against chief minister Nitish Kumar’s alleged “dictatorial way of functioning”.
The leader had first expressed resentment against the JD(U) in 2010 after the Assembly elections during a party function in Rajgir.
Two years since then, Kushwaha formally announced his resignation during a state-level workers’ meeting of Bihar Nav Nirman Manch at SK Memorial Hall. The Bihar Nav Nirman Manch is a non-political forum that Kushwaha had launched along with other disgruntled JD(U) leaders.
“Nitish has become a dictator and I cannot tolerate his attitude. He is arrogant and surrounded by sycophants. Keeping all this in mind, I decided to resign from the Upper House and the party. I had lodged my protest during the party camp in Rajgir. I had then said it was not good for the JD(U) to take RJD people into its fold. It would not do justice to workers associated with the JD(U) for long. Those from the RJD got important posts in the JD(U),” Kushwaha told The Telegraph.
On March 28, 2011, the JD(U) had suspended four MPs — Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh, Mangni Lal Mandal and Sushil Kumar Singh, apart from Kushwaha — for being involved in “anti-party activities”. Kushwaha, who had first become an MLA from Jandaha in Vaishali district in 2000, added: “People involved in corruption found place in the JD(U) and I was against such a practice.”
“The claims of the Nitish government regarding development in the state are false. There is no development in the state. It will take at least 25 years for Bihar to become a developed state. The people of the state want to live with self-respect and dignity. But this is not happening. I have never said that I am leader of any particular caste. All castes are equal for me,” Kushwaha said.
Kushwahas are considered the second largest caste in the Other Backward Castes category.
Kushwaha was recently in news for supporting UPA during the vote in Rajya Sabha on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. JD(U) president Sharad Yadav had said the party would take action against him for voting in favour of the UPA.
“I do not support FDI in retail but I voted in the favour of the UPA because of Nitish’s dictatorial attitude,” said Kushwaha, who became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2010.
The leader added that he would form a political party that would work in favour of farmers and youths. The name of the party, he said, would be formally announced at a rally at Gandhi Maidan on March 3, 2013.
Kushwaha had earlier criticised Nitish on several issues, including corruption, and demanded a CBI inquiry into the Forbesganj police firing that claimed four lives.
JD(U) state unit president Bashishtha Narayan Singh said: “Kushwaha’s resignation from the Rajya Sabha and the JD(U) will not have any impact on the party.”
Kushwaha was the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly in 2004 when Rabri Devi was chief minister.