Written byDyuti Biswas
Ahead of high-stake Bihar Assembly polls, the ruling JD(U) expelled State Industries Minister Shyam Rajak for "anti-party" activities, allowing him to return to his home party, RJD.
A day after his unceremonious exit from Nitish Kumar's party, he joined Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD on Monday and also met former Chief Minister and Lalu Yadav's wife Rabri Devi.
JD(U) has expelled him for six years.
Confirming about his homecoming earlier, Rajak said, "Around 99% of people in Janata Dal (United) are upset with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar but are unable to form a decision. I don't know about others but I am joining Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)."
According to reports, Rajak had a hunch that JD(U) high command would drop him from the candidates' list in the upcoming Assembly elections.
Signs of him being sidelined were there already as RCP Singh, considered number 2 in JD(U), sort of backed Arun Manjhi as a substitute Dalit representative.
Notably, Rajak had been the "Dalit face" of JD(U) for the longest time.
Rajak had been a part of RJD till 2009, after which he quit and joined the JD(U). He fought on a JD(U) ticket from Phulwari Assembly Constituency and won.
He went on to become a Cabinet minister after the 'Mahagathbandhan' alliance of JD(U) and RJD broke up in 2017.
However, with time, he began feeling neglected and was reportedly overlooked by the ruling party.
Sources told The Hindu that Rajak was ignored by party members at a recent meeting. Earlier, his staunch, non-compromising stance on Dalit issues which often went against the ruling party, also upset Kumar.
Besides, Nitish also refused to heed his request to remove S Siddharth, Principal Secretary of Bihar's Industries department.
Interestingly, while JD(U) claimed it sacked Rajak, he initially maintained "he has resigned."
"Shyam Rajak has been sacked from the party for six years. He was constantly indulging in anti-party activities and therefore Janata Dal (United) was compelled to take this decision," Vashishtha Narayan Singh, JD(U) President, had said earlier.
As he joined RJD, Rajak said he never compromised on his values. He also claimed he was expelled without a due process.
"It is quite ridiculous to know that I was expelled from the party within 10 minutes yesterday night. They expelled me without following the provisions of the party's Constitution. What will happen to such a party?" he asked.
According to sources quoted by the Hindustan Times, the expulsion of Rajak was nothing but a face-saving exercise for JD(U) since rumors of him resigning were already doing the rounds.
The development comes at a time when Kumar's party is facing problems as one of its primary allies, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP ) has threatened to withdraw support.
To note, Chirag Paswan, President of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), gave a rousing speech on Saturday, directly accusing the JD(U)-led government of poor governance, failure to tackle law and order issues, and the overall sloppy handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
He also took potshots at Kumar over his critique of Lalu Yadav, pointing that the two had been allies.
The current Bihar Legislative Assembly's life cycle is set to expire on November 29 and elections for 243 seats are due in October-November. The Election Commission, however, is yet to announce the dates, in wake of an alarming rise in coronavirus cases in the state.
Love Politics news?
Subscribe to stay updated.