A photograph of Union steel minister RCP Singh being welcomed by BJP workers during the party’s two-day national executive meeting held in Hyderabad has caused storms in the political circles of Bihar. It has triggered a speculation whether the JD-U leader has joined the saffron party.
Singh is said to be annoyed with the JD-U after the party refused to re-nominate him to the Rajya Sabha despite him being a minister. His six-year RS term expires on 7 July which means he will have to lose his cabinet berth if he is unable to secure his Rajya Sabha seat.
Although local BJP sources denied Singh joined the party, a tweet sharedby the official Twitter handle of the Telangana BJP points toward a different story. “A warm welcome of Shri @RCP_Singh MP (RS) the airport for attending BJP NEC meeting to be held in Hyderabad at HICC Today & Tomorrow. #BJPNECInTelangana (sic),” tweeted BJP Telangana unit on JD-U’s leader’s arrival in Hyderabad on 2 July. The tweet amply explains Singh had indeed attended the BJP’s national executive meet.
Interestingly, photographs of Singh getting felicitated and happily receiving a vermilion mark on his forehead by the BJP workers with “Bhartiya Janata Party National Executive Meetings” written in the background show a different story. No JD-U leaders are yet to comment in this regard. Even Singh himself has not given any clarification on the matter.
Sushil Kumar Modi, Rajya Sabha member andformer deputy chief minister in Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar is the only one to deny any such development. “This news is completely misleading that RCP Singh has joined BJP at the party’s national executive meeting. He came to Hyderabad for a government program and was welcomed by BJP workers at the airport who were already present there,” Sushil Modi tweeted.
The two-day national executive meeting of the BJP which began on Saturday was attended by the party’s top brass such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief JP Nadda, Union home minister Amit Shah and chief ministers of 19 states.
RCP who once held the number two position in the JD-U after chief minister Nitish Kumar, fell from grace after he joined the Narendra Modi cabinet without latter’s consent. Kumar has been opposed to the “token representation” being given to allies by the BJP but RCP ignored his displeasure to be a part of the Modi team. Singh is the only minister in the Modi cabinet from the JD-U quota.
The prevalent friction bitterness between the two came out in the open last month when the JD-U refused to re-nominate RCP to the Rajya and instead sent Khiru Mahato to the Upper House. This was soon followed by the party expelling four loyalists of RCP from the party for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities.
“We don’t need to write a letter (asking him to resign from the Union cabinet). We think he is intelligent enough to make his own decision,” JD-U’s parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha spoke to the media about the party’s strategy for RCP Singh.