Upendra Kushwaha announced the formation of yet another political party (Rashtriya Lok Janta Party) on 20th February 2023. This is the third time he announced the formation of any political party. He has changed his party affiliation and alliance 8 times in total. Nitish Kumar on the other hand changed his party or alliance only 5 times. The five times of Nitish Kumar were in 1994, 2003, 2013, 2017, and 2022. The eight times of Kushwaa were in 1994, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2018, 2020, and 2023.
Upendra Kushwaha & Nitish: Who Is Greater Paltu Ram?
Nitish Kumar changed his party or alliance five times starting in 1994 when he broke away from Janta Dal citing the autocratic rule of Lalu Yadav and formed Samta Party. Upendra Kushwaha was part of the Samta Party along with Nitish. Before that Nitish Kumar (Samta Party) and Sharad Yadav (Janta Party) merged their parties to form Janta Dal United in 2003. He remained with Nitish Kumar with his Samta Party and later Janta Dal (United) till 2007.
Upendra Kushwaha remained with Nitish Kumar with his Samta Party and later Janta Dal United (JDU) till 2007. He broke away from JD(U) citing the same reason Nitish Kumar cited while leaving Janta Dal under Lalu Yadav in 1994. In fact, he was thrown out of the JDU for his anti-party activities. He remained in close contact with UPA till his defeat in the 2009 election. After the defeat, he again returned to Nitish Kumar who sent him to Rajya Sabha.
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When the antagonism between BJP and JDU started increasing in 2013, Upendra Kushwaha against left Nitish Kumar and joined with his newly formed Rashtriya Lok Samta Party. He won 3 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general election. This remained his best performance till now. He became part of NDA rule in Bihar when Nitish Kumar left Mahagathbandhan in 2017. Within a year Kushwaha left NDA over the issue of opposition to the Caste Census by the BJP. However, Nitish Kumar remained intact over the issue of the Caste Census and compelled BJP (Bihar) to support Caste Census at least in Bihar.
Upendra Kushwaha joined UPA to fight the 2019 Lok Sabha election but was defeated badly. After the defeat, he again left UPA and formed Third Front with BSP and AII— of Owasi. He was again defeated badly and compelled by Nitish Kumar to merge his RLSP with JDU. Yet again Upendra Kushwaha decided to leave Nitish Kumar and his party to form Rashtriya Lok Janta Dal.
New Face of EBC:
But things have drastically changed in the last three years. The image of Nitish Kumar as an unquestionable and formidable leader of Bihar has been damaged extensively. The recent by-election results show how he has lost support even among his core voters namely the Kurmi-Kushwaha and Koeri castes.
The Kurmi, Kushwaha and Koeri castes (EBC) voters are looking for their new leader. They are not comfortable with either BJP or RJD. BJP is trying hard to inroad into the vote banks of EBC without any formidable leader. With the new party (Rashtriya Lok Janta Party-2023) this could be the best opportunity for Upendra Kushwaha to negotiate with NDA as the new emerging face of EBC in Bihar who has all the potential to replace Nitish Kumar as the face of EBC in the state.