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Kushwaha ends seat suspense

Patna, March 18: The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party today announced the names of two candidates for the Karakat and Jehanabad seats it got under the seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP.

The party’s national president, Upendra Kushwaha, would contest from Karakat, while former MP Arun Kumar would fight from Jehanabad.

Insiders said the party was unhappy with the seats allotted by the BJP. It was keen to contest Ujiyarpur that goes to polls on May 7. The constituency has a large population of Kushwahas, a backward caste of which Upendra is being projected as the leader. The BJP although went ahead and fielded its MLA, Nityanand Rai, from there.

The party was also eager to contest the Nawada parliamentary seat instead of Jehanabad. The constituency has a large population of Yadavs and is considered a tough seat. However, the BJP is reported to have hardened its stand at the last moment leaving Kushwaha with no other option but to accept the seats offered to him. According to the final seat-sharing arrangement between the parties, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party would contest the three Lok Sabha seats of Karakat, Jehanabad and Sitamarhi.

The name of the candidate for the third seat would be declared later. Kushwaha told reporters in Patna: “We have declared two names today and the name of the candidate for Sitamarhi would be announced in the next three-four days.”

He was accompanied by Arun Kumar and other party leaders, including Abhayanand Suman, at the meet.

Asked about the delay in naming the candidate for the third seat, he said: “There is no delay, as the polling would be held in the fifth phase. Since polling in Karakat and Jehanabad would be conducted in the first and second phases, respectively, we decided to declare these names first.”

He added: “I would file the nomination on March 20 for the Karakat Lok Sabha seat. Arun Kumar would file his papers on March 24.”

Explaining the reasons for fielding candidates from three different areas of Bihar, he said the party wanted to make its presence felt across the state. For that, one candidate each has been fielded in north Bihar (Sitamarhi), south Bihar (Jehanabad) and southwest Bihar (Karakat).

Stating that his party workers and leaders would work whole-heartedly to ensure the victory of the NDA candidates in all the 40 constituencies, Kushwaha said the alliance with the BJP would continue in the future. “The alliance is not for one election. It would rather continue even in the future,” he added.

Terming Narendra Modi a solution for all ills, the party chief said his development agenda with focus on agriculture growth was equally suited for Bihar’s development.

Criticising chief minister Nitish Kumar for shattering the dreams of socialist leader Karpoori Thakur, Kushwaha said Modi, who hails from the same section to which Thakur belonged, would strengthen the ideology of social justice, he said.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Shambhunath Sinha, along with his supporters, also joined the RLSP today. On the reason to leave their party, Sinha said there was a huge difference between words and action in the Congress.

“The party does not know which way to go. It does not know whether to be with the ruling party or to be in opposition (in the state). The party’s dual policy has left it nowhere. It has become a laughing stock,” Sinha said.