‘Not a cheerleader’:Rift emerges in RJD with senior leader’s dissent
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) senior leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Sunday questioned the party’s preparedness ahead of state assembly polls later this year and raised reservations over foisting Tejaswi Yadav, as the chief ministerial face of the Grand Alliance in Bihar.
“ I am not part of the Jaikara (cheer leaders) team that I would support every action of the party and not point out its follies,” said Singh.
He said RJD was “ill-prepared” to face the challenges ahead of the crucial assembly polls in October and was making no effort to galvanise the workers over burning issues like the CAA, NRC or unemployment. He had therefore written to RJD founder Lalu Prasad, former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, state president and the leader of the opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, stating his concern over lack of block-level committees and the reorganisation of various wings of the party.
“Every day the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) or Janata Dal (United) JD(U) leaders are doing press conference hitting out against the RJD but our party never bothers to counter the allegations. What are we doing,” Singh asked.
The senior leader, known for his straight forward approach, also made an oblique attack on RJD state president Jagdanand Singh saying “one cannot run a party by imposing one’s will”.
He asked if it was right for the party to alienate ordinary workers.
“These days, the state party headquarter is out of bounds for ordinary workers. Big chains have been put on the main gates to restrict the entry of people. Is it the way to run a party,” he asked.
He also slammed the state president for taking a hardline stance vis-à-vis allies on the issues of GA’s coordinator and Tejashwi as the CM’s face of the grand alliance.
“Who will become GA coordinator or who will become CM’s face of the GA should be discussed at the meeting of all allies. RJD has 81 MLAs and Tejashwi is the leader of the RJD legislature party. We need all the anti-BJP forces to come together to fight the NDA, which is not happening,” said Singh, hinting at reservations over Tejashwi’s candidature as CM’s face.
The outbursts have again exposed the rivalry between the two party veterans from the same community. There are speculations that Singh is angling for a Rajya Sabha seat through April polls.
Asked if his aggressive stand was due to his sidelining in the party, Singh said he was not angry. “But, yes, I have every right to call a spade a spade and oppose wrong things in the party,” he added.
The state president of RJD, Jagdanand Singh played down Singh’s outburst.
“People do advise. This is an internal matter of the party,” he said.
However, the ruling JD(U) and BJP leaders saw Singh’s eruption as a sign of an internal rift in the opposition party.
“Such outbursts by a senior RJD leader against his own party, show RJD is a divided house and reflects the disillusionment of the GA leaders over an imminent defeat in the coming assembly polls,” said, RCD minister Nand Kishore Yadav.
Nikhil Anand of the BJP agreed and said Singh’s bid to red flag his own party was a sign of frustration among the party’s old guard.
Congress MLC Premchand Mishra said Singh’s statement was an internal matter of the RJD.