In a major setback to the gathbandhan in Bihar two MLAs have joined the JD(U). Upendra Kushwaha's RSLP saw MLAs Lalan Paswan and Sudhanshu Shekhar leave the party to join the JD(U).
This ensures that the JD(U) has two more MLAs in the Bihar assembly making the total number of the lawmakers to 73.
Confirming the development, Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and legislative council deputy chairman Haroon Rashid said letters to this effect have been forwarded by two RLSP MLAs-- Lalan Paswan and Sudhanshu Shekhar,
Notably, the RLSP legislators had earlier revolted against Kushwaha's decision to snap ties with the NDA and join the Mahagathbandhan.
They announced that they would remain with the ruling coalition and seek recognition from the Election Commission as the "real Rashtriya Lok Samata Party".
The stupendous victory of the NDA in the Lok Sabha polls, wherein it won all but one of the 40 seats in the state, appears to have made the dissident RLSP legislators realise that it was safer to join the chief minister's party, which contested 17 seats and bagged 16, than seeking recognition as a separate group.
Kushwaha was with the JD(U) till 2013, when he resigned from the party and his Rajya Sabha membership following differences with Nitish Kumar.
He went on to float his own party which aligned with the NDA and won all three seats it had contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, riding the Modi wave.
In the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, the RLSP contested five seats in alliance with the RJD, the Congress and two other small outfits.
The party, however, lost all five seats to its rivals, including Karakat and Ujiyarpur, from where Kushwaha himself had contested.
With agency inputs