Other States

No differences between me and Nitish: R.C.P. Singh

Union Steel Minister R.C.P. Singh. File

Union Steel Minister R.C.P. Singh. File | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

Union Steel Minister R.C.P. Singh finally spoke up over ongoing speculation about his future in the Narendra Modi Cabinet because of a delay by the Janata Dal (U) in declaring his candidature for the coming Rajya Sabha election. He dismissed the claims about differences between him and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and also about a possible split between the JD(U) and the BJP.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi before heading to a Cabinet meeting, Mr. Singh stated, “There are no differences between me and Nitish ji on any issue, and today evening I am going to Patna.” The final deadline for filing the nominations, he said, is on May 31 and there is still time for that.

However, according sources, he spent a week in Patna trying to get an appointment from Mr. Kumar but could not manage to meet the Chief Minister. The JD(U) circles are abuzz about his impending exit and all eyes are on Mr. Kumar, who has been authorised by the party to take the final call on the issue.

Many in the party in the past have claimed that Mr. Singh, had gone against the party’s decision for “proportional representation” in the Modi Cabinet and instead of four Cabinet berths, he settled for one and that too for himself. Mr. Singh rejected these conjectures. “I have clarified this over a dozen times and I shall say it again. It is a baseless rumour. I took oath as a Union Minister with the consent of Nitish Kumar. If indeed these theories are correct, why would Nitish ji let me continue in the Cabinet?”

Mr. Singh was inducted into the Cabinet in July last during a reshuffle. Mr. Kumar did not attend the oath-taking ceremony and neither did he issue any public congratulatory message, which was read as his disapproval of Mr. Singh’s elevation.

Growing proximity with BJP

Party insiders have pointed to his growing proximity with the BJP which, at times, has come at the cost of the JD(U). Mr. Singh argued that his closeness with the BJP was nothing new. “I have been with the BJP since 1998, because in Bihar, the JD(U)- BJP have been together for many years.”

The delay in the announcement of his candidature for the Rajya Sabha election, coupled with the assertion on caste census by Mr. Kumar, are being counted as symptoms that will lead to an eventual break-up between the JD(U) and the BJP.

Mr. Singh has said that the alliance will be alive till 2025 Assembly elections and there was no place for such speculations.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 6:13:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/no-differences-between-me-and-nitish-rcp-singh/article65460048.ece