PM road shows irk Union minister
Junior Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday criticised his boss Narendra Modi's road shows for the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, saying it "lowers the dignity of the post of Prime Minister".
"The PM addressing rallies is fine. However, a Prime Minister should not hold road shows, that too for an Assembly election," Kushwaha, whose Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) is a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said while addressing the RLSP's foundation day programme in Delhi on Sunday.
"It lowers the dignity of the post of Prime Minister. The BJP should have not done this," he added.
On Saturday too, he had issued a similar statement that news agency PTI had reported.
Kushwaha also claimed that the people in the PM's inner circle "didn't meet the requirement of social justice".
Though he didn't elaborate, sources close to him claimed that he was talking about the representation from the backward castes.
"The time has come for the BJP to announce the name of the UP chief ministerial candidate from OBC (other backward classes) category as a senior BJP leader had promised me," Kushwaha told party workers without identifying the leader.
The BJP hit back at Kushwaha.
"Upendra Kushwaha should not cross his limits and should honour the coalition dharma," said Prem Kumar, the legislative party leader in the Assembly. "By holding road shows, the Prime Minister has tried to connect with the people."
The BJP's ruling rival in Bihar, the Janata Dal United (JDU), played down the controversy.
"Every political party has the right to hold rallies or road shows; the PM has not done anything wrong," said JDU Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh.
"He has done road shows for his own party. I am not concerned with what Upendra Kushwaha has said."
The JDU's ruling ally RJD supported Kushwaha.
"The Prime Minister is holding road shows for an Assembly election and I am sure that soon he will hold road shows at the block and panchayat levels as well. What Kushwaha has said is absolutely right; it is not appropriate for the PM to hold road shows," said art, culture and youth affairs minister Shiv Chandra Ram.
Kushwaha has a track record of criticising his own party leaders.
In 2010, when he was with the JDU, he had called chief minister Nitish Kumar a dictator and was later suspended for anti-party activties.
In 2013, Kushwaha had formed his own political party which at present is divided into two factions.
Kushwaha heads one faction while Jehanabad MP Arun Kumar heads the other.
Kushwaha, however, has already removed Arun from the post of state unit president along with five senior functionaries of the party who were on Arun's side. As things stand now, the RLSP has three MPs and two MLAs.
Prior to Kushwaha's comment, BJP parliamentarian Shatrughan Sinha too had expressed concern over the Prime Minister's road shows.
Sinha on Sunday said he had just expressed concern for the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.