Ex-minister gives RJD reality check on quota bill, gets invite to join BJP
A day after former union minister and RJD national vice-president leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh faced a flurry of attack from the NDA camp over his reported admission that party made a mistake to vote against the upper caste quota bill, the BJP lured him to join the NDA ranks.
While making this offer, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said that “Leader of his stature enjoys no respect in the RJD. Only the NDA will give him his due respect.”
Singh on Wednesday, in a damage control drive had toed a different line from his party, which voted against the upper caste quota bill. He had said that the party chief Lalu Prasad has told him that the RJD has not been opposed to reservation for the poor among upper caste communities.
“Lalu Prasad has told me that he had not been against reservation for the poor among upper castes. The party has always worked for the poor. Our stand was about enhancing reservation for OBCs (Other backward Classes), EBC (Extremely Backward Classes) and Dalits as per their population…. It was a mistake not to support the quota Bill in Parliament – chook to hui hai (we made a mistake),” he said on Wednesday.
The offer made by Modi comes at the backdrop of sharp criticism from NDA constituent, the LJP. Union minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan had asked how RJD’s upper caste leaders such as Raghuvansh Prasad Singh would face upper caste voters while campaigning.
The offer by the BJP leader is seen as an effort to create a rift in the RJD, which is already divided on quota bill.
Singh is seen as a strong contender from the Vaishali Lok Sabha seat. While Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav has not reacted to Singh’s remarks, sources in RJD said the party had to do a “balancing act” since it will field a few upper caste candidates in Lok Sabha polls.