Other States

After BJP slight, JD(U) divided ahead of U.P. polls

Nitish Kumar and Ramchandra Prasad Singh. File

Nitish Kumar and Ramchandra Prasad Singh. File

With the BJP contesting the upcoming Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh without its ally Janata Dal(U) even after keeping the party in the loop for over a month, the differences between the two top party leaders, both considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, have come to the fore.

The JD(U) on Tuesday released the first list of 20 candidates to contest the polls, mostly in the eastern part of the State.

Ramchandra Prasad Singh, senior JD(U) leader, who is the party’s Rajya Sabha member and Union Steel Minister, was authorised by the party to hold talks with the BJP for seat sharing and he was said to be negotiating with BJP leaders for over a month to forge an alliance and was also “convinced” of an alliance. But, when the BJP recently announced name of its alliance partners for the U.P. polls, the JD(U) was missing from the list.

Honesty of assurance

“Though, we’re not blaming anyone, he (R.C.P. Singh) can explain why the alliance failed with BJP for U.P. polls. He was assigned by the party to hold talks with the BJP for this and was convinced of an alliance,” JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh, told presspersons.

“He (RCP Singh) should be able to speak about the honesty of BJP’s assurances,” Mr. Singh said.

The differences between party president Mr. Lalan Singh and Mr. R.C.P. Singh in JD(U) has been an open secret. Earlier, when talk of Cabinet expansion at the center was going on, names of both the leaders were doing rounds in the political circles to become Ministers from the JD(U) quota, but finally only Mr. R.C.P. Singh was inducted into the Cabinet as union Steel Minister. Later, Mr. Lalan Singh, party MP in Lok Sabha from Munger, was elected as party’s national president to assuage his ruffled feathers, said party sources. Both the leaders were accorded warm welcome by their loyal party leaders and workers when they reached Patna with their new coveted post. And, it was talk of the town at that time about whose welcome was grander than whom.

Both the leaders, though, considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and have their loyal group of leaders and workers in the party.

However, ever since Mr. R.C.P. Singh has become the Union Steel Minister, the buzz in political circles, has been that he has become closer to BJP. When asked, party president Mr. Lalan Singh said, “only RCP Singh can answer this question but as of now, he is Minister in Union Cabinet as a JD(U) representative”.

Mr. R.C.P. Singh has not come out with any reaction yet over Lalan Singh’s comment. But, some party leaders, preferring anonymity told The Hindu , that Lalan Singh’s comments would push Mr. R.C.P. Singh into a fix and the more backward class leaders of the party would be coming together. Lalan Singh comes from upper caste Bhumihar community while, Mr. R.C.P. Singh belongs to the backward Kurmi caste. “For CM Nitish Kumar, it is definitely going to be a difficult choice between the two leaders”, quipped a senior party leader while, adding, “but the differences between the two will ultimately harm the party at large”.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 2:12:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-bjp-slight-jdu-divided-ahead-of-up-polls/article38325480.ece