Two-time Rajya Sabha MP and ex-Union minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh on Saturday announced that he has quit the Janata Dal (United). RCP Singh made the announcement from his Nalanda village, where he has been campaigning for the past few days in a move being seen as an attempt to cement his base to take on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Singh’s decision to quit the party came amid a growing rift between him and Nitish who once saw him as a trusted aide. Singh’s resignation from the party came on a day the JD(U) slapped a show-cause notice on him, accusing him and his family of amassing a vast amount of immovable property in the last nine years.
Having quit the Indian Administrative Service in 2010, Singh was nominated to the Rajya Sabha twice, in 2010 and in 2016. In his 12-year association with the party, Singh served as JD(U)’s general secretary (Organisation), and later as its national president.
Ties between Nitish and him turned sour after he directly dealt with the Bharatiya Janata Party to secure a Cabinet berth for himself despite the Chief Minister’s reservations against the token representation the BJP was offering to its allies. Nitish viewed Singh’s decision to deal with the BJP, surpassing him, as a direct affront to him.
Announcing his decision to quit the party, Singh said there was a conspiracy against him because he had become a minister at the Centre. “There’s no cure to jealousy,” he said, describing the JD(U) as a sinking ship. “Nitish Kumar will not become Prime Minister in any of his seven lives,” he added.
In the coming days, it will be interesting to see if Singh’s exit from the party manages to have any electoral impact. Singh is not seen as a mass leader and primarily rose through the ranks in the JD(U) owing to his proximity with Nitish Kumar. Through the years of his association with the party, Singh has successfully resisted poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s elevation as JD(U) national vice-president, as well as RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha’s attempts to return to the party as number two.