PATNA: JD(U) is going to hold its national executive meeting in Delhi on Saturday amidst speculation that its president RCP Singh, now a cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi government, may be asked to step down from the party post to make way for another leader.
Sources said, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who reached Delhi on Friday evening to participate in the party’s crucial meeting on Saturday, has given enough hints to the senior leaders for “selecting” a new party president.
JD(U)’s leader in the LoK Sabha and Munger MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and the party parliamentary board chairman and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha have emerged as the front-runners for the party’s top post.
Name of former Bihar unit party chief and Rajya Sabha member Bashishtha Narain Singh, who is known as a few most trusted men of Nitish, also doing the rounds in the party circles as one of the probable for the JD(U)’s top post. Sources said, Bashishtha might be made national working president and asked to lead the party till a new president is formally elected at the party's next national council meeting.
In an official statement issued two days ago, the JD(U) national leadership said that organisational issues, membership drive, current political issues and forthcoming assembly elections in different states were the main items on the agenda for the meeting. However, insiders said the meeting has been called mainly to replace RCP with a new leader.
Asked about the agenda, the JD(U) parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha on Friday said, “It is a routine meeting. The national executive meeting is usually held once a year. This year’s meeting has so far not been held. Hence this meeting has been called.”
To a question, Kushwaha further said, “When top leaders (of the party) will sit together, any other issue can also come up for discussion. But what will be 'the other issue', it is difficult to say.” Thus, Kushwaha gave enough hints about the likely “selection” of a new president.
Contacted, JD(U) national general secretary Afaque Ahmad Khan told TOI on Friday, “The party’s national executive body meeting will begin around 4 pm at party’s central office at 7, Jantar Mantar Road in New Delhi on Saturday.”
Khan said around 75 members of the national executive body including all MPs, all state presidents, all national office-bearers, have been formally invited to attend the meeting.
Sources said, RCP, who was chosen the party president just seven months back precisely on December 27 last year, is under pressure for quitting the party’s top post ever since he took oath as a cabinet minister in the Modi government on July 7 this year. Voices are being raised within the party that RCP Singh should not continue to hold two key posts simultaneously in the party and the government, and he should sacrifice one of the two posts on the principle of ‘one man-one post.’