In an expected move Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s party, JDU in National Executive Committee meeting in New Delhi on Saturday elected Rajeev Ranjan alias Lallan Singh as its national president. Singh is elected minutes after outgoing president Ram Chandra Prasad (RCP) Singh has submitted his resignation.
An official party tweet greeted Lallan Singh: “Congratulations and good wishes from JDU family to senior leader and House leader of the party in Lok Sabha, Rajeev Ranjan alias Lallan Singh for becoming president of the Janata Dal United.”
Lallan Singh is a long time companion of Nitish Kumar. Singh belongs to an influential upper caste which has been instrumental in Nitish staying at the helm of Bihar for so long. According to political grapevine Lallan Singh was the mastermind behind the upheaval in Lok Janshakti party (LJP) in which five LJP Members of Parliament revolted against the Party’s Chief Chirag Paswan and left him in the lurch. Chirag’s uncle and M.P. from Hajipur Pashupati Kumar Paras who has been leading the rebel faction got the ministerial birth.
In 2019, Nitish Kumar’s party had refused to join the central ministry as it was demanding proportional representation in the cabinet while the Bhartiya Janata Party remained defiant that it will give only one ministerial birth as symbolic representation to each NDA constituent. JDU won 16 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha Election.
Political analysts are of the view that Nitish Kumar has decided to join the central ministry due to the pressure of RCP Singh as reports kept coming about their differences since the 2019 central cabinet expansion.
Before the recently held cabinet expansion it was said that JDU will get at least two ministerial births and it will accommodate RCP Singh and Lallan Singh both. However, when the party falls short of its target, Nitish Kumar tried to save the face by putting the onus on RCP Singh. He said that the party had authorized RCP Singh to take decision on the matter and he has no role in the decision.
It was speculated that after RCP Singh’s inclusion in the central cabinet, he will resign from the party presidency. Reportedly, the episode has not gone down well with Lallan Singh. In such a situation his elevation to top party post appears to be an effort to pacify him.