RJD puts off induction of Rama Singh after Lalu s intervention

Patna, June 29 (PTI) Induction of a mafia don-turned- politician into RJD, which had riled one of its founding members recently, has been put off as per the instructions from the partys jailed chief Lalu Prasad, sources in the party said on Monday.

Former Vaishali MP Rama Singh, who had wrested the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when he contested on an LJP ticket from former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, had recently met the RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav and the latter was said to have agreed to his induction.

Rama Singh was slated to join RJD on Monday.

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on hearing about the meeting had shot off a letter addressed to the party leadership while undergoing treatment at AIIMS here for COVID-19 stating that he was quitting the post of RJD national vice-president as he was upset over the type of people the party was agreeing to associate itself with.

The development had rattled the party as it had come on a day when RJD was left blindsided by a split in the legislative council caused by five of its eight MLCs crossing over to the JD(U) headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari was, however, evasive when asked by journalists about the development.

These are election times and RJD being a party on the upswing is a natural choice for many people. When they should join is a prerogative of the party high command, said Tiwari.

The ruling JD(U)-BJP combine asserted that the RJD was evidently confused and may end up reversing many of its decisions before the state assembly elections, which is due later this year.

While Raghuvansh Prasad Singh stands guilty of adopting double standards for having no problems with a dreaded gangster like Mohd Shahabaddin and rape convict Raj Ballabh Yadav, both of whom have been convicted, as members of the party, RJDs volte face is indicative of the jitters in it, JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said.

The exit of its five MLCs has come as a rude shock to the RJD and pointed to the ground slipping beneath its feet.

It should come as no surprise if the party reverses many of its decisions in the near future, he said.

BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand using cricket analogy said that Yadav, who had tried his hands at the sport before taking the political plunge, has been clean bowled' by Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

The veteran RJD leader did not even deign to talk to Tejashwi. He spoke directly to Lalu Prasad and got Rama Singhs induction vetoed. RJD stands exposed as a confused party and Tejashwi, its chief ministerial candidate who is unacceptable to most alliance partners, has come across as a rudderless leader, said Anand.

An accused in several crimes including murder and kidnapping in places as far as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Rama Singh had been an MLA from Mahanar constituency falling under Hajipur Lok Sabha seat for several terms before he made his sensational Lok Sabha debut.

He was denied a ticket by LJP in 2019 and his links with the party headed by union minister Ram Vilas Paswan stand severed.

It is speculated that Tejashwi Yadav had agreed to his induction hoping that the clout he enjoys among the Rajputs in Mahnar and adjoining constituencies, could come in handy during the assembly elections.

Yadav, his party's chief ministerial candidate represents Raghopur, one of the neighbouring assembly segments. The 2019 Lok Sabha election when the RJD candidate in Hajipur managed a slender lead of less than 1,000 votes has been a reason of concern for him. PTI NAC KK KK KK