In a most explicit hint of a political realignment in Bihar yet, one of the key ministers in the Narendra Modi’s cabinet, Upendra Kushwaha, on Sunday used the recipe for kheer, to explain what could happen ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Kushwaha said that kheer could be prepared with milk from the Yadavs (RJD) and rice from the Kushwahas. Yadavs have traditionally been known for their dairy business in Bihar, Kushwahas have been agriculturist. Kushwaha’s party, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party is currently an ally of the ruling NDA government in Bihar.
Addressing a function organised by his party to mark the 100th birth anniversary of late B P Mandal, a former chief minister of Bihar, Kushwaha said, “kheer can be prepared with the milk from the Yadavs and rice from the Kushwahas… We will get the sugar from Brahmins, Tulsi from Choudharyji (RLSP Bihar chief Bhudev Choudhary), and can make delicious kheer with the dry-fruits from the backward classes and Dalits. Then we can relish the delicious kheer together.”
Mandal was the architect of the famous Mandal Commission that secured 27% reservations for the OBCs. His recommendations were implemented by the then prime minister, VP Singh in 1990.
RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who has time and again extended invitation to Kushwaha to align with the RJD, grabbed the opportunity and said today that kheer prepared with love and affection was delicious, energetic and full of nutrition.
Taking to Twitter, Tejashwi said, “Without a doubt Upendra ji, delicious and nutritious kheer is the need of the hour for working class. And not only does the health benefits of panchmewa provide energy to the body but is also helpful in building healthy and equitable society.”
नि:संदेह उपेन्द्र जी, स्वादिष्ट और पौष्टिक खीर श्रमशील लोगों की ज़रूरत है। पंचमेवा के स्वास्थ्यवर्धक गुण ना केवल शरीर बल्कि स्वस्थ समतामूलक समाज के निर्माण में भी ऊर्जा देते हैं। प्रेमभाव से बनाई गई खीर में पौष्टिकता, स्वाद और ऊर्जा की भरपूर मात्रा होती है। यह एक अच्छा व्यंजन है। https://t.co/cfBR3bBePm
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) August 26, 2018
When pointed out that his party chief’s statement sounded rebellious, RLSP national general secretary and spokesman Abhyanand Suman told PTI that the party was still very much in the NDA fold.
Of late, Kushwaha has been embarrassing the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar with his statements. He has been critical of the Bihar government and had in the past even suggested Kumar to voluntarily “give up the bid” for a fourth term in office in 2020, added a report by PTI.
The BJP has decided to tread cautiously on the comments made by Kushwaha. Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai told PTI, “What Kushwaha ji has said it looked like a proverb. Rice, milk and sugar belonged to everyone… One should not read anything more in it as Kushwaha ji has already taken a resolve to make Narendra Modi ji prime minister in 2019 again.”
The anti-incumbency against the Modi and Nitish Kumar governments at the Cntre and in the state respectively coupled with the popularity of the alliance between the Congress and the RJD had seen the ruling coalition bite the dust in the recent by-polls. Kushwaha possibly deserting the NDA may prove to be a disaster for the poll prospects of the BJP-JDU combine in 2019.