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Nitish Kumar's JDU Appoints Former MLA Umesh Kushwaha As State Chief, Amid Tiff With BJP

Amid chaos within the NDA, Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) has appointed former MLA Umesh Kushwaha as state president of the party, replacing Bashistha Narayan Singh


Amid chaos within the NDA, Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) has appointed former MLA Umesh Kushwaha as state president of the party, replacing ailing Bashistha Narayan Singh. This comes days after JDU selected Nitish's aide RCP Singh as national president of the party. Umesh Kushwaha lost the 2020 elections from Mahnar constituency where he was sitting MLA from 2015. Party observers see the appointment of Kushwaha as party's attempt to cater to its core Luv-Kush support base as Singh is a Kurmi leader and Kushwaha, a Koeri leader. However, party leaders have denied the observations and said that the change was necessary because of the poor health of Bashistha Narayan Singh.

Since 2005 when the JD(U)-BJP together uprooted RJD from the power in Bihar, CM Nitish Kumar, who is himself a Kurmi by caste has been leveraging Luv-Kush equation to corner major portion of non- Yadav OBC castes in the Bihar politics and has gained electorally.

On Sunday, Bashishtha Narayan Singh proposed name of Kushwaha for the party's state president post, which was unanimously approved by members present in the meeting," senior leader and MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh told reporters in Patna at a press conference in the party office.

Speaking on the occasion, the newly elected state president thanked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and party's
national president, RCP Singh, for posing faith in him and asserted that he would try to live up to their expectations by working hard to strengthen the party. Kushwaha said youths will be given the opportunity in the party whose organisational structure will further be strengthened up to village level. All the other leaders extended their wishes to Kushwaha.

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READ | Amid BJP-JDU power tussle in Bihar, CM Nitish says 'no talks on cabinet expansion yet'

BJP vs JDU in Bihar

Amid the reports of internal chaos within the NDA partners in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday evening said that he is unaware of who is his friend and who are the enemies in politics. In what seemed an indirect attack at the BJP, Kumar said that the seat distribution within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the recently concluded assembly elections should have been done five months prior to the poll. CM Nitish added that it is because of the delay that his Janata Dal (United) suffered a blow. While Nitish reiterated that BJP pressurised him to be the CM, he also commented on the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Though Nitish did not take any names and advised JDU workers to forget what happened in the assembly polls and look ahead, his remarks are yet another proof of the strained relationship between NDA partners - BJP and JDU - more so, after Nitish's party MLAs joined the saffron camp in Arunachal Pradesh.

The 2020 Bihar Assembly election, BJP, for the first time, won more seats than JD(U) and speculation that JD(U)'s clout in the alliance will reduce began. LJP is believed to have damaged JD(U)'s prospects in 32 seats despite bagging a solitary seat. While Kumar again took oath as the CM of Bihar, BJP placed Deputy CMs in 4-time MLAs Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi. Meanwhile, amid the power tussle, Nitish has said that no discussion has happened on the expansion of the newly formed cabinet in the state so far with BJP.

READ | 'Don't Know Who Is Friend Or Foe': Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Turns Bitter Amid BJP-JDU Tussle

READ | JDU MLA's big claim: 'Nitish will step down from CM post, Tejashwi will form Bihar govt'​​​​​​​

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