Patna: JD(U)'s sulking parliamentary board chief Upendra Kushwaha on Tuesday alleged that he was being undermined within the party as part of a "conspiracy" to "politically weaken" his mentor Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Talking to reporters here, the former Union minister, whose recent meeting with BJP leaders in Delhi has raised many eyebrows, said he was ready to clear the air if given an opportunity.
"Nitish Kumar can summon me for an explanation. A meeting of the party can also be convened. But I will keep raising my voice against any attempts to weaken the chief minister", said Kushwaha.
He expressed anguish over being "kept out of party functions", like celebration of birth anniversary of former chief minister and socialist leader Karpoori Thakur.
"No one else in the party has taken on detractors indulging in diatribe against Nitish Kumar like I have", said Kushwaha claiming that but for his vehement protests, ally RJD would not have issued a show cause notice to its MLA Sudhaker Singh who remains in news for caustic attacks on the CM.
He also alleged that RJD has been "officially stating that it had stuck a deal with our party at the time of the formation of the alliance. The truth of their claim must be made known to us by people in the know of things".
"I had separated from Nitish Kumar for some time. But when I saw him growing politically weak, I returned merging my own party RLSP in the greater interest of the Luv-Kush (Kurmi-Koeri) unity and the extremely backward classes", said Kushwaha who had returned to JD(U) in 2021, less than a decade after quitting.
"The conspiracy to weaken is still on and I will continue to speak against it. I will keep questioning the RJD which often seems to be rejecting Nitish Kumar as the coalition's leader", said Kushwaha who was a minister in the first Narendra Modi government.
He also claimed that the CM has, of late, been cutting a sorry figure by repeatedly saying "I don't know" whenever asked by the media about events roiling the state.
"This shows that the CM has got surrounded by people who do not brief him properly. And it is yet another proof of the conspiracy to weaken him", said Kushwaha.
Meanwhile, Kumar, indicated his growing sense of unease with Kushwaha, whom he had recently ruled out as his possible Deputy, besides RJD's Tejashwi Yadav.
"Don't ask me about him. He may say whatever he pleases. He had gone away and came back some time ago. But neither I nor anyone else in the party is going to react to his utterances", said Kumar when reporters approached him with queries about Kushwaha.