RLSP chief and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, who has been targeting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on Thursday dragged ally BJP into his campaign against the JD(U) chief, amid signs that he was drifting away from the ruling NDA due to unhappiness over seat sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha polls.
Kushwaha raked up his allegation that Kumar had "insulted" him by using the word "neech, a charge denied by the JD(U), and asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "wrong" in his attack on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over her "neech rajnitii" (lowly politics) jibe against the saffron party.
He stated this in a series of tweets Thursday in response to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi's defence of the chief minister. In an apparent dig at Kushwaha, Sushil Kumar Modi had tweeted on November 12 that Kumar had never used the word "neech" (lowly) but some people are trying to become "martyrs".
Hitting back, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader asked if, according to Sushil Kumar Modi, the prime minister was wrong in his interpretation of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's remarks.
During the campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had used the term "neech rajniti" to attack the BJP. Narendra Modi, then his party's prime ministerial candidate, had invoked his backward caste origins to accuse her of targeting his background.
"Sushil Kumar Modi should also then say that Nitish Kumar was right and Narendra Modi was wrong in the war of words between the two leaders over the 'DNA issue' during the 2015 assembly polls in the state," Kushwaha said.
In 2015, when the BJP and the JD(U) were in rival camps, Nitish Kumar had built a campaign against the prime minister over his DNA barb at him, asking his partymen to collect samples of hair and nail to be sent to Delhi for verifying the DNA.
Kushwaha, who is said to be unhappy with BJP president Amit Shah's proposal that his party contest fewer number of seats in 2019 than it did in 2014, also said Thursday that he will be discussing the seat sharing issue with Shah.
The RLSP had fought three seats in 2014 and won all.
"I am leaving Patna for Delhi. I will try to talk on the seat sharing arrangement in my meeting with BJP President Amit Shah," Kushwaha tweeted on Thursday.
With the BJP going all out to keep the Bihar chief minister in good humour, political watchers believe it has not gone down well with Kushwaha, who has long had a bitter relationship with him.
Kushwaha had joined the BJP-led National Democratic Allaiance (NDA) ahead of the 2014 election. The JD(U) had walked of the alliance in 2013 after 17 years. However, it returned to the NDA in 2017 after quitting the grand alliance with the Congress and the RJD.
The state sends 40 members to Lok Sabha.