India

BJP in dilemma as Nitish holds out on RCP Singh renomination

The Janata Dal (United), which is expected to take the decision, is causing a crisis for the BJP. Not to nominate Union Steel Minister Ram Chandra Prasad Singh in the Rajya Sabha. Sources in the ruling party claimed that Singh is open to joining the JD (U) but the BJP national leadership doesn’t want to antagonise Nitish K Kumar, the Bihar Chief Minister, prior to the presidential and vice presidential elections.

Singh ruled himself out of joining the BJP if he was denied a nomination by the JD(U). Sources in the saffron party claimed that Kumar had indicated to Singh that the JD(U), would not send Singh into the Upper House of Parliament. The BJP, according to sources, is keen to see Singh in the Rajya Sabha and the Cabinet as he is considered to be close to its leaders and its man in the Bihar CM’s close circle. However, it is not willing to do this at the expense of angering Nitish.

Singh, who was visiting the national capital and met with Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan & Bhupender Yadav. He ruled out joining BJP. Speaking to reporters in Delhi before leaving for Patna, he said, “Why is this being asked? Which party am i from? JD(U) … Let me put this rumour to rest once and for all. I was appointed Union minister with Nitish Kumar’s approval. Later, I also told this to (present) party president (Rajiv Rajan Singh, or Lalan Singh).”

The minister stated that there were six days left to file the nomination. “People have been unnecessarily speculating. You still have plenty of time to file the nomination. I do not know why there has been so much rumour-mongering.”

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Explaining the BJP’s dilemma, a party functionary said, “RCP Singh has very cordial relations with BJP leaders and the party would like to see him back in Parliament. It is not clear what price it will have to pay. Singh does not have much political clout to compensate for upsetting the JD (U) leadership.”

The BJP’s top leadership recently sent Pradhan to Patna for talks with Kumar amid rumours of strains in ties between the allies.

Said a BJP leader from Bihar, “So the question is whether the BJP leadership would accommodate Singh at the cost of straining ties with its key ally?”

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