Patna: Union Minister R.C.P. Singh is not getting a Rajya Sabha berth this time, so he has to resign from his post as a minister. It means no JDU member will be in PM Modi’s cabinet. Nitish’s relationship with RCP had been soaring for some time. There was a time when he was considered a close friend of Nitish, but their association turned awful gradually. That denied him a third term in the Rajya Sabha.
RCP Singh is the only JDU minister in the central government. He actually paid for his proximity to the BJP and may have to step down soon as his Rajya Sabha term will end in June. “It is the Prime Minister’s right,” he said in response to questions on his resignation. “I will meet him in Delhi,” he added, revealing desperation.
He also said he was “thankful” for being denied a Rajya Sabha seat. “What he decided yesterday, I am appreciative of him. Whatever he decides is in my interest. I have not done anything to date that should make anyone upset, “he said.
According to party leaders, the writing was on the wall since Nitish Kumar said “overlooking” him. A photo at a wedding, where the Chief Minister became visible to ignore the Union Minister totally and the two sat coldly with a leader in the middle, foretold bleak times ahead for the man who was once Nitish Kumar’s closest aide and the go-between for him and the BJP.
Mr Singh finally got an appointment with his party boss last Thursday, after numerous requests, but it was a tense meeting. Then, Nitish Kumar reportedly made it clear that his list did not include Mr Singh, even though it would mean the Union Minister losing his cabinet spot.
According to Nitish Kumar’s supporters, even though the Chief Minister handpicked Mr Singh as his party’s representative in the central government and conveyed the name to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he appeared to do nothing right after that.
Nitish Kumar was reportedly also irritated at his former lieutenant’s closeness with the BJP brass, including the party’s Bihar in-charge and Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav, whom the Chief Minister blames for the friction in the coalition.
It has been written on the wall that Mr Singh has to leave the Union cabinet. Khiru Mahto, Jharkhand JDU chief, is the front runner for the berth of the House of Elders. It is hard to understand why Nitish is trying to make the party a strong force in the neighbouring state of Jharkhand when JDU is, to some extent, struggling in its own citadel.