JD(U) says it won’t join Union Ministry; hits back at R.C.P. Singh

The former Minister of Steel resigned from the party on August 6 after the party sought an explanation on graft charges against him

August 07, 2022 06:25 pm | Updated 11:33 pm IST - Patna

Janta Dal United National President Lalan Singh (R) addresses a press conference at party office in Patna on August 07, 2022.

Janta Dal United National President Lalan Singh (R) addresses a press conference at party office in Patna on August 07, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

A day after former Janata Dal(U) president and ex-Union Steel Minister R.C.P. Singh resigned from the party, saying “JD(U) is a sinking ship”, party president and Lok Sabha member Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh hit back at the former asserting that the party was a running ship. Mr. Lalan Singh added that sooner or later, Mr. R.C.P. Singh had to go from the party as only his body was in the party, but his soul was somewhere else.

The party on Sunday made it clear that it will not join the Union Ministry again, but rebuffed speculation of a rift with ally BJP, asserting “all is well”.

Mr. Lalan Singh, who addressed a press conference here, however, dismissed queries about Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s absence at the NITI Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the terse remark “you should ask the Chief Minister”.

Mr. Lalan Singh who was regarded as a frontrunner by some for a ministerial berth from the JD(U) after R.C.P. Singh’s resignation, clarified that the party was not willing to have any representative in the Ministry.

“JD(U) is not a sinking ship but a running ship. And, who deserts a ship when it starts sinking? Everyone knows it. “There was a conspiracy going on against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and let the time come we’ll also let you know about the conspiracy,” the party chief said while addressing presspersons at the party headquarters in Patna.

Taking on the former party chief and a close aide of Mr. Nitish, he further said, “sooner or later, he [R.C.P. Singh] had to go from the party as only his body was here but soul somewhere else”.

“Let me tell you that after Chirag model, there was another model being prepared to orchestrate a conspiracy against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” Lalan Singh said, hinting at R.C.P. Singh who, till recently, was Minister for Steel in Prime Minister Narendra Modi Cabinet. He was dropped from the Cabinet after the JD(U) decided not to re-nominate him for the Rajya Sabha.

“It was Nitish Kumar who had made him [R.C.P. Singh] the party president and in 2021 as party president, it was his decision to join the Union Cabinet while, Mr. Nitish Kumar, in 2019, after consulting with every top leader of the party, had made it clear that the JD(U) will not be joining the Union Cabinet,” Mr. Lalan Singh added.

“But can a caretaker be the owner,” Mr. Singh asked. “Today, I’m the party president and the post was given to me by our leader Nitish Kumar. I’m only the caretaker of the party, not the owner,” he said.

“He [R.C.P. Singh] has become furious and panicked without power,” Mr. Lalan Singh added.

“The JD(U) has emerged after several struggles but does he [R.C.P. Singh] know of the struggle? He only stayed close to power, not struggle,” the JD(U) president said. Meanwhile, sources in the party told The Hindu that JD(U) has called all its party MPs to Patna by Monday evening for a meeting along with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on August 9.

On Saturday, the JD(U) had sought an explanation from R.C.P. Singh over alleged graft charges related to purchase of 58 plots by his family members from 2013-2022.

R.C.P. Singh, a former IAS officer had taken voluntary retirement from services in 2010 to join politics, had a long association with Nitish Kumar in different capacities. However, ever since he had joined the Union Cabinet as a Steel Minister relations between Mr. Singh and Nitish Kumar was strained.

R.C.P. Singh resigned from the party on Saturday over the alleged graft charges against his family members, saying, “I had no idea they [JD-U leaders] will stoop so low and make such frivolous charges against my family members”. Sources close to him said, he has also been mulling a defamation case against some party leaders who tried to “malign” his image by making such charges.

“If some party leaders had made some petitions against him [R.C.P. Singh], to the State party president, he has got all right to seek an explanation from him [R.C.P. Singh]. He should have responded,” said Lalan Singh.

(With PTI inputs)


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