BJP ally RLSP heading for a split

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Union minister Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), an NDA constituent, is heading for a split with the party today suspending an MP and an MLA for alleged anti-party activities.

Based on the recommendations of party’s disciplinary committee chief and MP Ram Kumar Sharma, the National Council has decided to suspend Lok Sabha member Arun Kumar and MLA Lallan Paswan for indulging in anti-party activities, said a statement by RLSP’s Principal General Secretary Shivraj Singh.

RLSP which had contested the 2014 general election with BJP as an ally has three Lok Sabha MPs in Bihar. They are Upendra Kushwaha (Karakat), Arun Kumar (Jehanabad) and Ram
Kumar Sharma (Sitamarhi). It has two MLAs in 243-member Bihar Assembly — Lallan
Paswan (Chenari) and Sudhansu Sekhar (Harlakhi).

The statement said former national general secretary Binod Kushwaha has also been suspended, besides the two.

A rival faction headed by Arun Kumar had on August 17 held a meeting at Patna which was attended by Lallan Paswan and others and removed Union Minister of State for Human
Resources Development (HRD) Upendra Kushwaha and appointed Kumar as new party chief in his place.

Infighting intensified in the RLSP whose majority leaders had moved away from JD(U) before Lok Sabha poll in 2014 to form a new party and join hands with BJP. Now the dissenting
faction is accusing Kushwaha of having links with people allegedly involved in hawala trade.

Reacting to his suspension, Jehanabad MP Arun Kumar told PTI on Friday that the suspension was “illegal” and holds no relevance as the party’s national council had on 17 August
removed Upendra Kushwaha as chief of the party.

MLA Lallan Paswan also trashed the suspension saying it was “undemocratic” and the group led by Kushwaha did not have the right to take action against them.

Both Kumar and Paswan said they would soon approach the Election Commission to recognise them as real RLSP.

They said they would stay in NDA.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is our leader. We fought election in his name so we would continue to work under his leadership in the NDA,” Kumar said.

While Paswan has dissented, the second MLA Sudhansu Sekhar said he would remain with Kushwaha.

Sekhar was elected from Harlakhi seat after a by-poll following the death of his father Basant Kushwaha who died a day before the new legislators were to take oath in November last year.


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