It has led to the resignation of party vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, also a former Union Rural Development Minister.
New Delhi: The speculated entry of strongman Rama Kishore Singh alias “Rama Singh” into the party has created a storm in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), leading to resignation of heavyweight and vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, also a former Union Rural Development Minister in the Manmohan Singh government. Rama Singh is likely to join the RJD next week.
“Rama Singh”, known for his muscle power, has been a five-term MLA. He got elected to Lok Sabha from Vaishali constituency in 2014 on Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ticket, where he defeated Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. That marked the beginning of the cold war between Raghuvansh and Rama Singh.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, perceived to be an honest leader with a clean image, is said to be miffed with the idea of inducting Rama Singh into the party fold. Rama Singh comes from the same Rajput caste to which Raghuvansh Singh belongs. Moreover, he also comes from Vaishali constituency. That is the reason Raghuvansh Singh is upset with the leadership and has even stopped coming to the party office at Veerchand Patel Marg.
After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Raghuvansh Singh filed a petition in the Patna High Court, seeking disqualification of Rama Singh from the Lok Sabha. It was alleged that Rama Singh had not given information about the Jaichand Vaid kidnapping case of 2001 in his affidavit filed to the Election Commission.
In this case, Rama Singh had to serve a jail term also. According to sources, the LJP did not give a ticket to Rama Singh in the 2019 LS elections. Instead, Veena Singh was fielded from Vaishali. Ever since then, it was being speculated that Rama Singh would join the RJD, something which made Raghuvansh Singh uncomfortable. But recently, Lalu reportedly gave his “green signal” to induct Rama Singh, which prompted Raghuvansh Singh to take the extreme step of resigning from the party. Raghuvansh is undergoing treatment at Patna AIIMS for Covid-19 infection.
RJD insiders said that there are efforts to placate Raghuvansh. “As of now his resignation has not been accepted. He is an asset for the party. He has been a right hand of Laluji. Singh babu has stood with him in all good and bad times. He is the one who represents the old guard. In Delhi’s political circle, he is considered as RJD’s sober face. His Choora-Dahi party, thrown at his Ashoka Road residence on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, is still being remembered by many politicians and journalists of the national capital,” said a source.
Besides Raghuvansh’s resignation, the RJD also suffered another setback as five of its MLCs—Sanjay Prasad, Md Kamar Alam, Radha Charan Seth, Dilip Rai and Ranvijay Singh—switched to Nitish Kumar’s JDU ahead of the Legislative Council polls in Bihar on 7 July.
The MLCs resigned as they were troubled due to the “dynastic politics” in the RJD and the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Sources said RJD is facing a serious leadership crisis as Lalu Prasad Yadav is serving jail term in the multi-crore fodder scam.
Though Tejashwi is controlling the party affairs, a large number of RJD leaders, especially the old guard, are not happy with his style of functioning. Tejashwi’s authority within the party has also diminished following RJD’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections last year, in which the party drew a blank.
“Moreover, in the absence of Lalu Yadav, infighting among his family members has come out in the open. The party is sharply divided in several factions—led by Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav and Misa Bharti. There is a strong lobby of old and senior leaders who are unhappy with Tejashwi as he is promoting new faces, ignoring their contributions. In this situation, RJD has become like a chariot being pulled by many horses, running in different directions,” a party source said.