Rashtriya Lok Samta Party leader Upendra Kushwaha, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance earlier this month, joined the Congress-led “grand alliance” in Bihar on Thursday, News18 reported.

Kushwaha had resigned from the Union Cabinet on December 10. He was the Union minister of state for human resource development.

“We welcome Upendra Kushwaha in the ‘mahagathbandhan’ [grand alliance],” said Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil. Kushwaha met alliance leaders, including Hindustani Awam Morcha’s Jitan Ram Manjhi and Gohil, at the Congress headquarters in Delhi on Thursday. He joined the United Progressive Alliance after holding talks with the Congress leadership.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed happiness at Kushwaha’s decision, ANI reported. “There is a ‘gathbandhan’ [alliance] in Bihar,” he said. “It’s a matter of happiness that Upendra Kushwaha is joining the ‘mahagathbandhan’ [grand alliance].”

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav earlier in the day said he had invited Kushwaha to join the alliance in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Announcing his decision to quit the NDA earlier, Kushwaha had accused the BJP-led government of diverting attention from the real issues, and said he felt “insulted” to be part of it. Earlier, he had met Congress leader Ahmed Patel at his residence in Delhi, triggering speculation about a possible alliance between his faction and the Rahul Gandhi-led party.