Even as RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday made an emotional appeal to veteran socialist leader and his once-close comrade Raghuvansh Prasad Singh to stay back in the party, Singh has written to Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on ways to restore the glory of Vaishali, the seat of the first republic.
He also sought Nitish’s attention towards addressing governance issues in Vaishali Parliamentary segment. The former Union minister had represented Vaishali several times in Lok Sabha, although he lost the last two elections – to JD(U) candidates.
Although the letter does not mention any intention of joining the JD(U), it is being seen as the first hint from the veteran leader at his desire to join the ruling party.
On Friday the JD(U) appeared to be warming up to Singh, saying that the next-generation leaders of RJD is not “able to judge the value” of sold socialists such as Singh, while the RJD played it down, maintaining that writing to the Chief Minister on development works is par for the course.
Singh had resigned from RJD on Thursday saying that he had been “standing behind” Lalu Prasad for 32 years, since the death of socialist icon and former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur, but would do so no longer. He was ostensibly upset being marginalised in the party, and arch-rival and former MP Rama Kishore Singh’s attempts to join RJD.
In his hand-written letter to Nitish, Singh requested the CM to bring back Lord Buddha’s “vilshapatra (alms bowl)” from Afghanistan and try to get the Governor to unfurl the national flag in Vaishali on January 26, with the Chief Minister doing the same honours in state capital Patna, and then both swapping the roles on August 15. He also suggested ways to improve conditions of farmers and labourers.
“Leaders such as Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jagtanand Singh, Shivanand Tewary, Ramchandra Purve and Abdul Bari Siddiqui are scions of Karpoori Thakur’s legacy. It is sad that the generation after Lalu Prasad is not able to judge their value,” former Rajya Sabha MP and JD(U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi told The Indian Express.
Skirting a question on whether Singh would join JD(U), Tyagi said, “Identity politics of Mandal era is nearing an end, and these leaders are finding themselves uncomfortable in the Mandal-plus times….. Raghuvansh-babu has always been a part of the old Janata parivar — he is a tall socialist leader, and we have immense respect for him.”
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tewari, however, said: “Our national president Lalu Prasad has already addressed his old friend. Raghuvansh-babu cannot leave his house (meaning RJD) to live in a rented house (JD-U). As for him writing to the CM, it is natural to address issues related to governance to the CM.”