Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party President Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar government in Bihar for their alleged failure to improve the state’s education system, the Hindustan Times reported.

At a public meeting in Champaran, Kushwaha said the BJP should focus on building schools instead of temples. Kushwaha’s alliance with the saffron party and the Janata Dal (United) turned sour last month after a disagreement over the seat-sharing arrangement for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Union minister of state for human resource development had earlier given the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance time till of November 30 to increase his party’s share of seats. On December 3, he dared the government to sack him.

Kushwaha reiterated that Bihar needs a larger number of good teachers to help educate the poor and accused the Janata Dal (United) government of ignoring his 25-point charter on education. Kushwaha has criticised the government’s education policy and claimed that most of the teachers recruited by the state government cannot count to 100.

Kushwaha said he would forgive Nitish Kumar, who referred to him as a “neech aadmi [low-level person]” a few weeks ago, if the chief minister agrees to his demand to improve the education system.

Meanwhile, two unidentified state political leaders told the Hindustan Times on Wednesday that Kushwaha and Loktantrik Janata Dal founder Sharad Yadav might merge their parties ahead of the General Elections. Kushwaha had met Yadav on November 12.

“Yadav and Kushwaha have discussed a merger,” one of the leaders said. “It is in an advanced stage, and a formal announcement could be expected any time after December 6.”

Swabhimani Paksha leader Raju Shetty, who left the NDA in 2017, said he was in talks with Kushwaha to form an alliance. “He [Kushwaha] didn’t propose for any kind of merger of the two parties but offered to have an alliance for the coming polls,” Shetty added. “He is currently not happy in the NDA.”