In a major jolt to the Rashtriya Janata Dal ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar, veteran leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has resigned from the party from his hospital bed.
In his letter addressed to the party’s national president Lalu Prasad Yadav on a plain paper from his hospital bed at AIIMS in Delhi, Raghuvansh P Singh says, “Since the demise of Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur, I have stood behind you for 32 years but I cannot do that anymore. I have received love from the party, its workers and the common man (in this period). I am sorry.”
Lalu himself, incidentally, is admitted to another hospital at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi.
Lalu Prasad Yadav. Credit: Jitender Gupta/Outlook
Raghuvansh, a five-term MP considered to be Lalu’s most trusted confidante over the years who had earned laurels for implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) during his tenure as the rural development minister in the UPA-1 government between 2004-09, was quite miffed with the reported plans of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to induct Rama Singh, a former LJP MP with criminal antecedents, into the party.
Raghuvansh, interestingly, chose to write a handwritten resignation note from his hospital bed at AIIMS, where he has been undergoing treatment for suspected case of pneumonia, sent to Lalu at RIMS in Ranchi. In June this year, he had resigned from the post of the party’s national vice-president over the plan of the younger leadership of the RJD to induct Rama. The idea was not accepted by Lalu, who later intervened and put Tejashwi’s plan on hold and asked him to visit the ailing leader in the hospital. But things apparently did not change since then.
Raghuvansh, interestingly, chose to write a handwritten resignation note from his hospital bed at AIIMS, where he has been undergoing treatment for a suspected case of pneumonia, and sent it to Lalu at RIMS in Ranchi.
RJD Veteran Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. Credit: Jitender Gupta/Outlook
In June this year, he had resigned from the post of the party’s post over the plan of the younger leadership of the RJD to induct Rama, which was not accepted by Lalu. The party president later intervened, put Tejashwi’s plan on hold and asked him to visit the ailing leader in the hospital. But things apparently did not change since then.
Tejashi did try to assuage the party stalwart known for his clean image, by visiting him recently at AIIMS but his elder brother Tej Pratap often went on record saying that Raghuvansh’s exit would not make any difference to the party despite repeated admonitions of his father.
A popular Rajput leader, Raghuvansh is one of the few big leaders who stood by Lalu through thick and thin all through these years, refusing to leave him despite overt and covert overtures from several parties, including JD (U) and the BJP, to join them. He commands tremendous respect from the leaders of all the rival parties because of his clean image. It is not yet clear whether he will join JD-U or any other party.
Meanwhile, political circles are agog with speculations that Tejashwi now wants to induct Rama Singh as part of his social engineering to fortify his upper caste base in the Raghopur assembly constituency in Vaishali district, from where he won the last assembly elections in 2015. His elder brother Tej Pratap had also won from Mahua seat in the same district.
Since both Raghuvansh and Rama Singh, also a Rajput by caste, are influential upper caste leaders in the area, the entry of a tainted leader into RJD, if it finally happens, at the cost of a widely respected veteran may well have a bearing on the upcoming assembly election.
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