After the poor performance of the JD(U) in Bihar Assembly elections and the recent humiliation after six party MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh defected to the BJP, Nitish Kumar on Sunday handed over the party’s leadership to Ramchandra Prasad Singh. Singh, a close confidante of Nitish Kumar, was chosen as JD(U) chief in the party’s national executive.
Following the move, Kumar has made himself unavailable to ally BJP, whom he holds responsible for reducing his party’s seat tally to 43 by propping up Chirag Paswan’s LJP in the recently concluded Bihar assembly election, according to political pundits. Henceforth, Singh will look after the party’s affairs, including its dealings with the BJP.
The decision shows that all is not well in the ruling National Democratic Alliance in which the BJP has been playing the role of a dominant partner since the state polls.
जदयू की राष्ट्रीय कार्यकारिणी की बैठक में मुख्यमंत्री श्री @NitishKumar ने श्री @RCP_Singh को जदयू का राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष बनाए जाने का प्रस्ताव रखा जिसे सर्वसम्मति से स्वीकार किया गया और राष्ट्रीय परिषद ने भी इसका अनुमोदन किया। जदयू परिवार की ओर से उन्हें हार्दिक बधाई व शुभकामनाएं। pic.twitter.com/OSIZT9sTpE
— Janata Dal (United) (@Jduonline) December 27, 2020
RCP Singh is a former IAS officer
RCP Singh, a former Indian Administrative Service officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, is known to be close to Nitish Kumar. He belongs to the same caste as the chief minister.
Singh has been working with Nitish Kumar for years. He was Kumar’s personal secretary during his railway minister days. He became the principal secretary when Kumar became the chief minister in 2005.
In 2010, RCP Singh was nominated to the Rajya Sabha and since then, he has been Kumar’s political emissary in the national capital, especially after the JDU’s return to the National Democratic Alliance in 2017.
Singh had played an important role in the formation of the JDU-BJP alliance for the 2019 general election and the Bihar assembly polls.
BJP refutes poaching charge
The BJP on Saturday said the MLAs were not poached and joined the party of their own accord. The opposition, however, termed the move “humiliation” and dared Kumar to break the alliance.
The JD(U) became a recognised state party in Arunachal Pradesh just last year, after winning seven seats in the northeastern state and placing second after the BJP, which was the largest party with 41 seats.
However, with the recent defection of JD(U) MLAs, the strength of the Opposition has gone down to 12—four each from Congress and National People’s Party, one from the JDU and three Independents.
Following the Arunachal episode, the Congress has warned the veteran politician to beware of the BJP’s “poaching skill”.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has asked Kumar to stay in touch with the opposition in Bihar as an “antidote to withstand the Arunachal Syndrome”.
Notably, the JD(U) and the BJP are running an alliance government in Bihar where JD(U) has a lesser number of MLAs as compared to the BJP.
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