Express News Service

PATNA:  Factionalism surfaced within the ruling JD-U on Monday during an event organised to mark the arrival of the Union Steel Minister and the party’s senior leader RCP Singh in Patna. Upendra Kushwaha, president of the JD-U parliamentary board and newly elected national president of party Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh, were absent at the party function. 

While Kushwaha said he was not informed about the minister’s visit, Lalan Singh was not simply spotted at the event. There was more: posters welcoming RCP Singh carried no pictures of either Kushwaha or Lalan Singh. The posters were later removed and new ones with pictures of Lalan Singh were put up but again Kushwaha’s picture still remained absent.

Kushwaha and RCP Singh haven’t had the best of relations. When Kushwaha merged his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party with the JD-U, RCP Singh was not in favour of it. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RCP Singh dismissed “speculation” about JD-U’s factionalism. Kumar said: “Some people are spreading such rumours. There is no demonstration of political strength on the arrival of anyone like RCP Singh.”

“I myself had recommended RCP Singh for the party’s national president. Now, RCP Singh has made Lalan Singh the national president. Everyone in the party is united,” said Nitish. Sources said no senior leader, except a few ministers, MPs and MLAs, was seen in the function. “Dissidence in the JD-U is real,” said a leader who attended the function.

When asked about the party’s demand for a caste-based census, RCP Singh was evasive, but said inclusive development was taking place in the country, and that reservation was a non-issue.