In June this year, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, the former union minister who died a few days ago, resigned from RJD- the party which he nurtured for decades. Raghuvansh Singh was not happy with RJD welcoming Rama Kishore Singh, who had defeated him from Vaishali, a seat he held since 1996, in 2014 as NDA candidate. “It’s like hell in the party — tickets are being sold for money. I personally blocked Rama Singh’s entry into the party twice. But after this, I cannot hold this post,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said.
For many decades, Raghuvansh Singh was the right-hand man of Lalu Yadav and when RJD joined UPA in 2004, Singh was awarded Ministry of Rural Development where he implemented the flagship MGNREGA program, which, despite all its inefficiencies, became the hallmark of the UPA government. However, in the last few years, especially after RJD lost the power in Bihar when Nitish dumped the party for BJP, and Lalu was jailed, his discontent with the party started growing.
As a right-hand man of Lalu Yadav, he saw himself as the natural successor of the veteran leader after he was jailed, but Lalu chose to bestow the party responsibilities to his incompetent sons instead of Singh. Later, RJD leaders welcomed Rama Kishore Singh whom Raghuvansh Babu hated to the extent of ‘either me or them’.
The NDA had not given a ticket to Rama Kishore Singh in 2019 from the Vaishali seat given his criminal credentials and fielded another candidate, Veena Devi, and this nudged Singh to join RJD, which welcomed him with open arms. On the other hand, Raghuvansh Singh, who held the seat for five consecutive times lost in 2014 as well as 2019.
So, amid the defeat and entry of his foe in the party, Raghuvansh Babu decided to leave the party. The 74-year-old Rajput leader, who was upper caste face of the party that rose in the name of “caste justice”, died a few days ago at AIIMS, New Delhi, but, RJD is now maligning the image of one of its most prominent leaders for petty political gains.
Raghuvansh Singh wrote letters to Lalu Yadav from jail on decaying ideals of the party and argued that it is moving to “feudalism” from socialism. He also wrote letters to Nitish Kumar, urging him to fulfil wishes like bringing a Buddha bowl from Afghanistan to Vaishali, his hometown, and the place of the first republic by humankind and expansion of MGNREGA to the farm sector.
“I will request Nitish Kumar to execute the development projects he wrote about in the letter. Let’s together–the state and the Centre–fulfil his wishes,” PM Modi said referring to the letter.
“We have started acting on the requests of late Raghuvansh babu,” said Nitish Kumar. “Some issues rose by him fall in the ambit of the Centre and we have referred these to the Union government for appropriate action,” he added.
But RJD leaders are now claiming that those letters, handwritten, were not written by Raghuvansh Babu, because, no one can write letters from ICU. RJD MLA Subodh Rai, who claimed to have met Raghuvansh Singh in Patna after his recovery from coronavirus, said, “He was upset over many things which he had expressed freely. But he never betrayed any intention of quitting the party he had nurtured. The state government is doing politics in the matter”.
It is widely believed that after RJD welcomed Rama Singh, Raghuvansh Prasad was convinced by his son Satya Prakash Singh to leave the party. Satya Prakash Singh wanted to join the JD(U) after quitting his plum corporate job and Nitish Kumar led party is willing to offer him MLA seat.
It is obvious that Raghuvansh Babu was not happy with the leadership style of Lalu’s sons. When RJD welcomed his foe in the party, he decided to quit the party post and wrote a letter to Nitish Kumar to fulfil his wishes and to Lalu, warning the decaying ideals of the party, but the RJD leaders are now smelling a rat in those letters.
The NDA expressed outrage over the insinuations by the RJD leaders.
“They seem to have no shame. They never cared about his well-being while he was battling for life. Singh was proud of his roots in Vaishali, the seat of the first republic in the world and he raised an issue relating to it.”
It seems Lalu is ready to sacrifice the legacy of his most trusted lieutenant to win the next election.