The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party of former union minister Upendra Kushwaha which has formed a third front ahead of Bihar polls after spurned by the National Democratic Alliance and disowned by the Rashtriya Janata Dal-helmed Grand Alliance, on Wednesday received another jolt when its key leader Madhaw Anand resigned over the "disastrous" tie-up with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
Anand, the party's principal national general secretary and chief spokesperson resigned from the posts as well as the primary membership stating that the party ran the risk of being "finished" on account of the "inconsequential" move.
"I am leaving not because of any personal bitterness. I joined the party in 2017 and have tried to nurture it since then. But, unfortunately the course chosen by the RLSP will only cause it to perish. And my aim, to make a difference in the politics of Bihar, cannot be achieved in such circumstances", Anand said.
The 38-year-old media savvy politician, who has been one of the most visible faces of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party which was formed in 2013, was incidentally seated by the side of Kushwaha, glum faced, while the alliance with BSP and a non-descript Janatantrik Party (Socialist) was being announced.
Later in the day, BSP supremo Mayawati had announced in Lucknow that her party would be supporting Kushwaha as the "chief ministerial" candidate, an averment which is being scoffed at by the ruling NDA in Bihar as well as the Grand Alliance comprising RJD, Congress and others.
The RLSP had performed dismally in the 2015 Bihar assembly polls when it won only two seats. It later succeeded in getting one of its members elected to the legislative council.
However, all the three legislators revolted against Kushwaha's decision to walk out of the NDA in December, 2018 and after the party drew a blank in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, they merged with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United.
Anand's exit from the RLSP came barely two days after it received a rude shock with its state president Bhudev Chaudhary, one of the partys founding members, joining the RJD.
The proverbial straw in the wind had become visible hours later when Anand drove to the residence of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav late on Tuesday night.
He, however, chose to keep his cards close to the chest and asked about the meeting with Yadav, replied "I have personal relations with Lalu ji and his family and I met Tejashwi for a courtesy call. My future political move will be announced soon".
Anand insisted that his decision to quit the RLSP was "not guided by any resentments stemming from past injustices, since I remained loyal to Kushwaha through thick and thin".
Desertions of senior RLSP leaders leave Kushwaha in the lurch.
But, Kushwaha says he is not worried.
"It's good that people are getting down from the ship before it sails deep in the sea," Kushwaha said.
"When ministers and senior legislators are changing political sides during the election whats so big if some of my party colleagues are doing so. This is routine during poll times and we are not bothered," Kushwaha, who served as minister of state for HRD in Narendra Modi's first cabinet, said.
Kushwaha had left Mahagathbandhan in the hope of a "decent" return to the ruling NDA coalition.
Earlier, this week he had gone to Delhi to meet top BJP leaders, but it seems things did not work for him.
Kushwaha himself had told media persons Tuesday that he met BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav and had also talked on seat-sharing and the RLSP expectations.
Media reports suggested Kushwaha is interested in contesting Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha bypolls schduled on November 7.
The by-election on the Valmiki Nagar seat has been necessitated due to untimely death of sitting JD-U MP Baidyanath Mahto.
Asked about speculations in the media about RJD supremo Lalu Prasad's estranged brother-in-law Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav joining them, Kushwaha said "you will hear a lot of rumours during election time."