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As RS polls near: Suspense in JD(U) over RCP Singh renomination

Singh, who was the national party chief before becoming the Steel Minister, is a divisive figure within the party. The JD(U) has left it up to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take a call on his renomination.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: May 23, 2022 5:53:13 am
RCP Singh (right) with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (File photo)

In the run-up to next month’s elections to five Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar, the JD(U), which is set to win one seat, faces a dilemma over renominating Union Minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh.

Singh, who was the national party chief before becoming the Steel Minister, is a divisive figure within the party. The JD(U) has left it up to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take a call on his renomination.

A JD(U) source said: “Since there had been subtle posturing from RCP Singh himself and some senior leaders reacting to it, Nitish Kumar is the only competent person to take the final decision on the matter.”

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The top leadership of the JD(U) had reportedly been upset with Singh for having become a Union Minister when he was national president of the party. Munger MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh later took over as JD(U) national chief.

“Nitish Kumar is caught in a piquant situation. If he renominates RCP, it may displease not just Rajiv Ranjan Singh but a large part of the party cadre. RCP has little hold in party organisation as only three of his 32 candidates could win 2020 Assembly polls. And if RCP is not renominated, he will lose his ministerial berth in six months,” said a JD(U) leader.

The elections to the five Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled for June 10. In a House of 243, BJP has 77 MLAs followed by RJD’s 76 and JD (U)’s 45 legislators. This means BJP and RJD will get two seats each and JD(U) one.

Besides JD(U)’s Singh, those completing their Rajya Sabha term this July include Satish Chandra Dubey and Gopal Narayan Singh from BJP and Misa Bharati from RJD. Socialist veteran Sharad Yadav had lost his Rajya Sabha berth after rebelling against Nitish’s decision to return to NDA in 2017.

For RJD, Misa Bharati is almost sure to get renominated. Even though Tej Pratap Yadav (elder son of Lalu Prasad) has been lobbying hard to get RS berth, the name of party leader Faisal Ali has been doing the rounds. Sharad Yadav, who recently merged his Loktantrik Janata Dal with RJD, stands a very thin chance of getting renominated, as per RJD sources.

While BJP may renominate Satish Chandra Dubey, or find another Brahmin face in his place to maintain social balance in Champaran region, Gopal Narayan Singh stands little chance of renomination as the Shahabad region, which he represents, has several fellow Rajput leaders — Ara MP RK Singh and MLCs Santosh Singh and Nivedita Singh.

A BJP source said: “It could be one upper caste and one OBC. From the OBC slot, Prem Ranjan Patel is said to be a front-runner. But then, there could be surprises.”

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