RLSP MP says he wants party to remain in NDA

New Delhi, Nov 13: Amid speculation that BJP ally and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha may join the opposition, his party MP Ram Kumar Sharma said Tuesday he wanted the party to remain in the ruling alliance and hoped that Kushwaha would not break ranks.

"I am in the NDA and would like to remain in the alliance. I am hopeful that our party will continue to be a part of it," he told PTI. 

Sharma, who is one of the two MPs of Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) besides Kushwaha, when asked if the RLSP would split if its president left the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), parried the question. He merely expressed the hope that it would not happen.

RLSP sources said besides Sharma, one of the two MLAs of the party, was also of the view that it should remain in the NDA, indicating that it might be staring at a split in case Kushwaha switches allegiance.

They, however, added that many party leaders, some of whom were keen on contesting elections, were urging Kushwaha to not agree to the RLSP contesting on only two Lok Sabha seats as offered by the BJP.

BJP president Amit Shah had said every NDA constituent in Bihar would have to make a sacrifice to accommodate Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), which had joined the alliance last year.

Shah had also announced that the BJP and the JD(U) would fight equal number of seats in 2019.

The RLSP had contested three seats in 2014 and won all. One of its MPs, Arun Kumar, already left it and formed his own party.

Kushwaha had yesterday met opposition leader Sharad Yadav, fuelling speculation that he might switch camps over his differences with Nitish Kumar and the proposed seat-sharing arrangement among the saffron party's Bihar allies for the Lok Sabha polls.

NDA leaders believe that if some of RLSP functionaries, including Sharma, do not join Kushwaha in leaving the alliance, then it would weaken him. Sharma also comes from the same community.

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