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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Rajendra Singh: Rebel loyalist, or loyalist rebel

Rajendra Singh was once talked of as BJP's CM candidate for Bihar. The party doors aren't closed as he stands on LJP ticket.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: October 21, 2020 9:53:54 pm
rajendra singh profile, rajendra singh bihar elections, bihar assembly elections 2020, jdu, nda alliance, ljp, nitish kumar, indian expressConsidered the man behind the BJP's victory in Jharkhand in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Rajendra Singh was even touted as the party's chief ministerial face for Bihar in the 2015 elections.

An RSS worker for the past 37 years, Rajendra Singh is the biggest BJP name standing on an LJP ticket in this election. The 54-year-old crossed over after the Dinara constituency he wanted to contest from went to the JD(U) in the NDA alliance. Sitting JD(U) MLA and Science and Technology Minister Jay Kumar Singh refused to shift.

Considered the man behind the BJP’s victory in Jharkhand in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Rajendra Singh was even touted as the party’s chief ministerial face for Bihar in the 2015 elections. While that hope had ended as he lost the polls from Dinara, he had still got over 62,000 votes. Made the BJP state vice-president, he had been nursing the constituency for the last five years and built a base in the Rohtas belt.

Also read | Akhtar-ul Iman: Nursing AIMIM hopes in Bihar

A resident of Kochas and a graduate and LLB from Allahabad University, Singh, known to be a quiet man, emerged from the backrooms of the RSS only when he became the organisation sectretary of the Jharkhand BJP. He came to be known as Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s man.

Singh has not spoken publicly about the BJP’s denial of a ticket to him, and says that he decided to contest on an LJP ticket and not as an Independent under pressure from his supporters. He says top BJP leaders did call him to try and change his mind.

Wearing his political affiliations seemingly on his sleeve, as he campaigns in saffron or red scarves, he admits BJP workers are supporting him “on their own”. Learning a lesson from the 2015 loss, when not many knew him in Dinara, Singh says this time he is going village to village, trying to reach every household irrespective of caste.

Also read | Old hand, trusted by both Rahul, Ahmed Patel, is Congress choice for Bihar

Silent on his JD(U) rival while praising LJP leaders Chirag Paswan and the late Ram Vilas Paswan, Singh says it is difficult to take the BJP out of him.

The BJP appears to be as reticent. While it has expelled Singh along with eight other rebels, senior BJP leaders have refrained from attacking him personally.

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