Former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s party Rashtriya Lok Samta Party on Sunday merged with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United). Kushwaha had split from the JD(U) in 2013 to launch his own party.

Kushwaha referred to the merger as “ghar vapsi” or homecoming. “Honoring the sentiments of the people of Bihar, the RLSP returned home in the presence of my elder brother and honourable Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” Kushwaha said in a tweet. “We will remain dedicated to the progress of the people with social justice.”

Kushwaha added that the political situation in Bihar and the country made it necessary for like-minded parties to come together, PTI reported. “I have therefore decided that our journey shall continue under the leadership of my elder brother Nitish Kumar,” he said.

Kumar welcomed Kushwaha and his colleagues into his party, saying that the merger will make Bihar strong, The Hindu reported. The former Union minister was also appointed as the chairperson of the JD(U) Parliamentary Board.

The Bihar chief minister said he was happy about the decision, according to Hindustan Times. “It is a historical decision,” Kumar said. “We were together earlier and again we are back. He [Kushwaha] is a big leader and will work together for state’s development.”

Kumar added that he had been holding discussions with Kushwaha about the merger. “When I discussed it with my party members, they expressed their joy on his thought of merging the party with ours,” Kumar was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

Kushwaha’s party had failed to win even a single seat in the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections. RLSP had tied up with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen.

Kushwaha had joined the National Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He served as the minister of state for human resources until his exit from the alliance in 2018.