Member of Parliament Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh on Thursday rejected speculation of rift in the JD(U) and maintained he would not step down
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was on Friday named the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) national president after Member of Parliament Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan quit the post, ending days of speculation about his continuation amid reports of a rift.
Singh announced the move in his presidential speech at the start of the party’s national executive meeting in New Delhi. Kumar earlier took over as the party chief replacing Sharad Yadav in 2016 before relinquishing the post in 2020. Former Union minister RCP Singh, who quit the party last year, became the JD(U) national president in 2020.
JD(U) state president Umesh Kushwaha said that the national executive requested Kumar to take over the party’s leadership in the larger interest of the party and nation. He added the request was unanimous.
Bihar minister Vijay Kumar Chowdhary said Singh cited his candidature in the 2024 national polls and asked to be relieved from the post and that the chief minister should take over. “There was no bitterness between the two.”
Singh stepped down after days of speculation that Kumar was unhappy with him for not “coordinating effectively” with the Opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) for a bigger role for the chief minister at the national level ahead of the 2024 polls.
The speculation was fuelled by reports that Kumar was unhappy with Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s projection as the Opposition grouping’s Prime ministerial candidate. On Monday, Kumar denied the reports.
Singh on Thursday rejected speculation of rift and maintained he would not step down. “Nitish Kumar is the leader of our party. JD(U) is united and it will remain the same. I am not going to resign. You [media] are most welcome to further the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] agenda.”
Kumar’s taking over is seen as a message to the INDIA bloc and ally Rashtriya Janata Dal ahead of the seat-sharing exercise for the national polls. He is known as a hard bargainer.