Upset with RJD, Lalu Yadav’s Close Aide Raghuvansh Ends Friendship

“Recover soon, then we will sit and talk. You are not going anywhere,” Lalu wrote in response to Raghuvansh. 

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Politics
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Lalu Yadav is finding it hard to believe that his family-like friend in politics Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has left his side.
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Lalu Prasad Yadav is finding it hard to believe that his family-like friend in politics Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has left his side. Can a 32-year-long friendship just end in a few words? Raghuvansh, from AllMS – where he is presently admitted for medical treatment, wrote a very brief letter to Lalu Yadav, that essentially said: for 32 years I had your back. But no more.

In response to that, Lalu soon replied:

“For four decades we have sat together and made all political, social and familial decisions. Recover soon, then we will sit and talk. You are not going anywhere.”   

It is not known yet if Lalu Yadav’s wish will come true, but Raghuvansh’s announcement of wanting to quit RJD is a very big deal. Probably even bigger than the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections.

Two Friends – One in Jail, the Other in Hospital

Both Lalu and Raghuvansh were once the most important people in Bihar, and extremely significant for rest of the country, as well. Today Lalu is serving a sentence after being convicted in the Fodder scam, and Raghuvansh is getting medical treatment in a Delhi hospital, after getting infected with COVID-19.

During the JP Movement, Raghuvansh had been arrested and taken to Patna’s Bankipur jail. Here Lalu was also locked in. Lalu was a student leader, and Raghuvansh a teacher. This is where Lalu and Raghuvansh’s friendship began.

In a party surrounded by allegations of scams, Raghuvansh was one such leader who had a spotless image. Raghuvansh was also a progressive face in a party that wasn’t necessarily progressive. Despite all the contradictions in their nature, Raghuvansh stood with Lalu in good times, and bad. In fact their friendship was so strong, that it was the sole reason, Raghuvansh refused to switch to Congress, and that too at a time when Congress was firmly rooted in power.

Raghuvansh has evidently always wished the best for Lalu and his family. On some days he would be spotted trying to save Tej Pratap’s marriage, and on others he would be seen trying to secure Tejashwi’s political future.

But recently, certain such incidents took place that paved way for speculations of Raghuvansh quitting the party.

Why Was Raghuvansh Angry?

In the beginning of the year (2020), Raghuvansh wrote a letter to Lalu expressing his disappointment with the party’s working style. He was asking for democracy in the party. In June, he also quit the post of the party’s vice president. Recently, the differences amplified further.

RJD is planning to bring Rama Singh into the party. Rama Singh is the leader who defeated Raghuvansh from the Vaishali seat, in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. Rama Singh had also recently claimed that nobody can stop him from joining RJD.

Raghuvansh was against RJD allowing Rama Singh to join the party. Rama Singh wanted to know what Raghuvansh had even done for the party. Tejashwi remained quiet amid Rama Singh’s jibes against Raghuvansh. This upset Raghuvansh even more.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Tejashwi had taken a stand against Savarna reservation. Raghuvansh did not agree with that.

After the defeat in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it was expected that Lalu would send his old friend to Rajya Sabha., but even that did not happen.

Raghuvansh also has differences with state head Jagdanand Singh. Raghuvansh was against his appointment as the head.

Recently, Tej Pratap Yadav had said something to the tune of how RJD is the sea, and Raghuvansh early a mug-full of water. However, for this remark of his, Lalu reprimanded his son and asked him to apologise to Raghuvansh.

Raghuvansh’s Story

  • Born in 1946, Raghuvansh hails from Mahnar in Vaishali district.
  • He has studied in Bihar University and has a PHD in Mathematics.
  • After taking his doctorate degree, he taught at Goenka College, Sitamarhi from 1969 to 1974.
  • Went to jail many times during the teacher’s movement, and was sacked as professor.
  • Political journey began after he got in touch with Karpoori Thakur.
  • He remained MLA from 1977-1990.
  • He became MP for the first time in 1996, and was elected five times thereafter.
  • He has been the Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Food and Consumer Affairs and Rural Development Minister at the centre.
  • He has one daughter and two sons. His daughter is a journalist and his sons are both engineers.

Raghuvansh is a powerful speaker in the Parliament, his voice travelling far and wide.

What Does Raghuvansh Quitting RJD Mean for the Party?

Raghuvansh was one such face who was respected both within, as well as outside the party. His oratory skills and clear image was very useful for the party, as was his unswerving loyalty.

He used to act as a bridge between JDU and RJD. He wanted Nitish and Lalu to reunite.

His quitting the party may not impact that party so much on the ground, but on the level of party perception it is going to matter significantly. Besides, the opposition is expected to target RJD significantly for losing Raghuvansh.

Presently, Raghuvansh is hospitalised. Only after his release, will it be known if speculations of him switching to JDU are correct or not. Or will Lalu be successful in holding him back? It is also yet to be known if Raghuvansh’s desire to quit RJD stemmed from his decreased status in the party or if elements outside the party are fanning his flames of disappointment.

(This piece was originally published in Hindi Quint and has been translated and republished with permission. Read the original story here.)

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