RJD on shaky ground in Bihar?

5 out of 8 MLCs jump ship to JD(U), Raghuvansh Prasad Singh quits


Bihar is all set for elections for nine Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council seats on July 6. However, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) suffered a big blow on Tuesday with five out of its eight Members of the Legislative Council (MLC) switching allegiance and joining Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal (United). With RJD reduced to just 3 seats, party leader Rabri Devi too was removed as Leader of the Opposition in the 7-member upper house of the state legislature.

The five defecting MLCs are – Radha Charan Shah, Sanjay Prasad, Ranvijay Kumar Singh, Md Kamar Alam and Dilip Rai.           

However, RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav appeared to remain unphased. Taking to twitter he said, “What are a few MLCs? We have seen Chief Ministers run. Lalu supporters have neither tired nor given up.”



This complacence could cost Tej Pratap given it was news of him being given the Council ticket from Raghopur that led to a ‘dharna’ outside Rabri Devi’s residence on Monday. Tej Pratap Singh, who is currently the MLA from Mahua, was being considered instead of party loyalist and local heavyweight Uday Narain ‘Bhola’ Rai. It was Rai who had stepped aside to let Lalu’s heir apparent Tejaswi contest from his seat when the then 25-year-old wanted to make his political debut. According to Hindustan Times, Rai and his supporters protested and demanded to meet Rabri Devi and her son Tejaswi, but left feeling insulted when they were told that the duo would only meet a delegation of 15 people.

But that’s not all. Party heavyweight Raghuvansh Prasad Singh also resigned on Tuesday. The 75-year-old was not only the vice-president and a former union minister; he also enjoys tremendous clout as a Rajput face of the party. He was upset at the entry of ex-Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) leader Rama Kishore Singh, another Rajput and his arch rival who had once defeated Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Reportedly, for some time, many in the RJD have been unhappy with the manner in which Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejaswi Yadav has been running the party.

Therefore, there was renewed hope when Tejaswi wisely decided against fielding his brother Tej Pratap for any of the seats. Instead, for its quota of 3 seats as part of the five-party Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance, the RJD has fielded Sunil Kumar Singh, Rambali Chandravanshi and Faruk Sheikh. Meanwhile, alliance partner Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)founder Jitan Ram Manjhi’s allegiance could also be tested with whispers of his return to the NDA.

At present 29 out of the 75 seats in the Vidhan Parishad are lying vacant as a result of which its effective strength is only 46. JD(U) now has 21 seats after Tuesday’s defections and has thus become the single largest party. The BJP meanwhile has 16 MLCs and also has the support of one independent. The drama is the upper house could also percolate to the lower house where elections are due later this year.


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