Fresh caste math with new JD(U) Bihar chief as Nitish springs another surprise

Express News Service
PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday sprung a surprising organisational rejig, preferring Umesh Kushwaha (46) as the replacement for septuagenarian Vashistha Narayan Singh as the state unit president of JD(U).

The proposal was unanimously approved by the party leaders, signaling JD(U)’s thrust on youth power to blunt the attack from Tejashwi Yadav (RJD) and Chirag Paswan (LJP). Earlier, party veteran Ram Sewak Singh’s name was doing the rounds as Vashistha’s successor.

Kushwaha’s, a former MLA, elevation marks Nitish’s return to the Luv-Kush equation, which he devised in the 1990s to neutralise Lalu Yadav’s Muslim-Yadav (MY) formula. Nitish proposed Kushwaha’s name on the second day of JDU State

Executive meeting on Sunday when Vashistha Narayan Singh stepped down over health reasons. Kushwaha is consider close to JD(U) national president RCP Singh, and said to have a stronghold in the Kushwaha community.

Party MP from Munger Rajiv Ranjan Singh told media that the appointment of Kushwaha was approved by Nitish in a move to encourage youth leaders. Dismissing the opposition speculation, Singh said: “Those fanning rumours of NDA’s disintegration must know that JD(U) is strongly with the NDA.”

JD(U) going strong in NDA: Senior leader 

The speculations of JD(U) walking out of NDA were fanned by Nitish’s comments that he could not differentiate between friends and enemies during the recently-concluded Bihar election.

“While our seats have come down, our vote share has increased,” Singh said, adding that the party is committed to working on Nitish Kumar’s Seven-Resolves (Part-II) on development with justice.