The Jharkhand unit of Rashtriya Janata Dal on Sunday witnessed a vertical split, with a section of party leaders and party workers leaving the parent body led by Lalu Prasad and announcing the formation of RJD (Loktantrik).The deposed state RJD president, Gautam Sagar Rana, has been named the president of RJD(L) by the disgruntled group annoyed with the top leadership. The decision was taken at parivartan sabha, held at the assembly auditorium in Ranchi following en masse resignations of leaders and workers from RJD. The breakaway faction decided to approach the Election Commission for a separate symbol. The leaders arrived at a decision that RJD (L) would contest the Jharkhand assembly polls due in December.This is the first split in RJD after Lalu parted ways with the Janata Dal and formed the party in 1997 and just before the RJD’s 24th foundation day on July 5. It is said that the nomination of former state youth RJD chief Abhay Singh as Jharkhand president, replacing veteran Gautam Sagar, didn’t go down well with the dissidents.The national body of RJD had nominated Abhay Singh as the Jharkhand unit chief, ignoring the disciplinary committee’s recommendation for his expulsion from the party for six years along with Shailendra Sharma and Surendra Prasad for their involvement in anti-party activities. The trio had created a ruckus in the state party office during the review meeting. The incarceration of Lalu after his conviction in the fodder scam cases, too, had its impact. However, in Jharkhand, it got worse during the recent Lok Sabha elections when RJD decided to enter into a ‘friendly contest’ with the Congress from Chatra and fielded Subhash Yadav. The party was allotted Palamu Lok Sabha seat in the opposition Grand Alliance.Soon, the then RJD state president Annapurna Devi parted ways and switched over to BJP. She contested the Koderma seat on a BJP ticket and won. Veteran RJD leaders Girinath Singh, Manoj Bhuiyan, Janardan Paswan also bade adieu to RJD before the election.Speaking to the media after being nominated as RJD(L) president, Rana said the split was against his wishes, but was due to the arrogance of the national leadership, which ignored the collective decision of the state leadership. He said Lalu was no more the power centre; it was in several hands taking wrong decisions.