Shyam Rajak, a senior Scheduled Caste leader who was Sunday dismissed as a minister and expelled from the JD(U), rejoined the RJD and vowed to “live and die” for the party. Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav called it a “homecoming” for Rajak, who was considered a trusted lieutenant of RJD chief Lalu Prasad until he left the party for the JD(U) in 2010.
The JD(U) called it “three-for-one” in the season of shifting political loyalties ahead of the Assembly polls as RJD MLAs Dr Ashok Kumar (Sasaram), Maheshwar Yadav (Gayghat) and Prema Choudhary (Patepur) joined the JD(U) in the presence of ministers Bijendra Yadav and Sravan Kumar, and party spokesperson and minister Neeraj Kumar. “When these three MLAs had won in 2015, Nitish Kumar was their leader. Nitish Kumar is still their leader,” said Bijendra Yadav.
For the JD(U), the induction of three MLAs from RJD brings a significant combination of OBC Yadav, Dalit and OBC Kushwaha votes.
Meanwhile, Rajak met former CM Rabri Devi after joining the RJD in the presence of Tejashwi and party’s state president Jagtanand Singh.
“Rajak-ji leaving the JD(U) shows that not only people but public representatives too have been unhappy with Nitish Kumar. It is a homecoming for Rajak-ji. We are happy he is back with us,” Tejashwi said.
Rajak said, “I left JD(U) as I could not have compromised with self-respect. Nitish Kumar did not respect even the basic rules of issuing me a show-cause before expelling me from his party… RJD is my home. I will live and die here now.”
Rajak represents the Phulwari Sharief Assembly segment in rural Patna. Rajak and Ram Kripal Yadav, who is now a BJP MP, were earlier dubbed as the “Ram-Shyam” of Lalu Prasad — the SC leader was the RJD spokesperson and Yadav the party’s key organisation man.
Rajak had a see-saw journey in the JD(U), rising to the post of party’s national general secretary but without taking a key role unlike RCP Singh and Lalan Singh. His second induction as minister last year came after a long wait. As the JD(U) previously had other Dalit faces like Ashok Kumar Choudhary and Uday Narayan Choudhary, Rajak had little chance to be the leading Dalit voice in the party. With Rajak and Uday Narayan Choudhary now in the RJD fold, Tejashwi is likely to play the Dalit card.
Meanwhile, LJP chief and Jamui MP Chirag Paswan, who has recently been vocal against the JD(U), termed Rajak’s exit from the NDA as “unfortunate”. He retweeted the party’s statement that “exit of Shyam Rajak from NDA is unfortunate”.
Information and Public Relations Minister and JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar said, “He is going to the man who has been convicted under section 420. He had intentions to attack JD(U)’s policies by remaining in company of people belonging to 420. That’s why party took a decision and expelled him.”
Bihar BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said, “His activities raised questions. So the CM recommended his sacking from the cabinet. He is free to go anywhere.”
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