Upendra Kushwaha has demanded that Nitish Kumar clarify his remarks against him
The tussle between two of BJP's allies in Bihar – Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) intensified today. Mr Kushwaha accused Mr Kumar of going against democracy, after the Bihar police lathi-charged protestors belonging to the Kushwaha community who were marching towards the governor's residence in Patna.
They were protesting against Mr Kumar's alleged remarks calling Mr Kushwaha "neech" or lowly.
"Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ji, if it was difficult to manage the protestors who were peacefully marching towards Raj Bhavan (governor's residence) there were other ways to make them disperse. What kind of justice is it to thrash innocent men and women with lathis and shed their blood? What kind of democracy is this? What kind of governance is this?" Mr Kushwaha tweeted.
"Instead of lathi-charging Kushwahas, you should have clarified your remark (calling Mr Kushwaha lowly). Perhaps people's anger would have dissipated," he further wrote on Twitter.
The RLSP's anger towards the JD(U) is also to do with the sharing of seats for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party has demanded more than the three seats it contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"We fought in three seats previously (in 2014) and we won. Our party has grown in strength as compared to 2014. Now, we want to contest in more than three seats," Mr Kushwaha told reporters on Friday.
In the 2014 general elections, the RLSP contested three seats – Jahanabad, Sitamarhi and Karakat – and won all the seats.
Mr Kushwaha's statement comes after BJP president Amit Shah said last month, "It has been decided that BJP and JD(U) will fight on an equal number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. Other allies will also get a respectable share of seats. Numbers will be announced."
Last week, when the Bihar chief minister was asked about the seat-sharing tussle with the RLSP, he reportedly said, "Don't take the debate to such a low level".
The RLSP leader condemned Mr Kumar's alleged comments.
He further stated that unless he was "absolutely convinced" on Mr Kumar's explanation of his remarks, talks over the seat-sharing issue would not go ahead.
"He called me 'neech'. I am hurt and disappointed. He should take back his statement. (BJP president) Amit Shah should take note of this and the reason should be ascertained as to why he called me that," he said.
He further called for a meeting between Mr Kumar and himself.