Tue, 31 May 2022 03:25 PM IST
Patna | Jagran Politics Desk: The Rajya Sabha elections are scheduled to be held on June 10, but they have already sparked a controversy in the political arena after Janata Dal-United (JD-U) snubbed veteran party leader Ramchandra Prasad Singh for the polls. RCP Singh, JD-U's Rajya Sabha MP, was a surprise pick in Cabinet expansion last year, but his stint as Union Steel Minister would most likely end in July as he retires from the Upper House.
RCP Singh has said he will consult Prime Minister Narendra Modi about continuing as Union Minister. "I will meet PM Modi soon. My tenure as a Rajya Sabha member will get over on July 6. The party has given me this responsibility till July, but Prime Minister Modi will decide if I continue as a minister," Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The JD-U's decision to deny Singh a ticket to Rajya Sabha has given a hint that everything is not well inside the party. It has also put a question mark on Singh's future, who had a quick rise in the JD-U.
Reports suggest that Singh has fallen out of Nitish Kumar's favour due to his "closeness" with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nitish, by denying Singh a third Rajya Sabha term, has also conveyed a message to the BJP amid reports of friction.
Singh and Nitish have been associated with each other for a long time. As a bureaucrat, Singh was Nitish's main man during his tenure as Union Railways Minister. Later, he became principal secretary in the Bihar government after Nitish became the Chief Minister of the state.
With the relationship growing between the two, Singh resigned from his position as an IAS officer and joined the JD-U. Over the years, Singh's prominence continued to rise in the JD-U and he became the party's president in December 2020.
In July 2021, after he got a place in the Modi cabinet, Nitish replaced Singh with Lalan Singh as the party's president. During this time, Nitish reportedly became uncomfortable with Singh's growing closeness with the BJP which eventually led to him falling out of the line of Bihar Chief Minister.
Although Singh has refuted reports of a rift with Nitish, his recent statements suggest otherwise. Recently, the former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer said that Nitish's chances of becoming India's Prime Minister are remote.
"A party needs to have 273 seats for a stable government and the Prime Minister of the country. JD-U is a party of Bihar which won a maximum of 20 Lok Sabha seats once. The current strength of JD-U in Lok Sabha is 16. So how would he (Nitish Kumar) become the Prime Minister of the country," Singh said on Monday, as reported by news agency IANS.
"What was the tenure of Deve Gowda? His tenure was very short. We need not register only the name of Nitish Kumar in the list of Prime Ministers. He was the longest-serving Chief Minister of Bihar and he has been running a strong and smooth government," Singh noted.
Singh, meanwhile, has thanked Nitish for helping him become a Rajya Sabha MP for 12 years, but only with a dig at him, recounting how he helped the JD-U at the booth level.
"I am a person who belongs to the organisation of the JD-U. Everyone knew that I was responsible for strengthening the party at booth level in Bihar. I made 33 different wings in the party in the state," he said.
"The present leadership of the organization of JD-U reduced it to 12-13. I will request the state president of Bihar (Umesh Kushwaha) to revive them again. If the party would not give any responsibility or post to me, I would still be a primary member of the party and I will go to the ground level and I am committed to working for the organisation again."