Meet Nitish Kumar's Trusted Aides Who Helped Stitch Alliance With BJP
Nitish Kumar, like PM Narendra Modi, likes to keep cards close to his chest. But he can't do it all by himself. These are the men who helped him in this latest political turnaround.
Patna: Nitish Kumar has surprised many, including some within his own party, by breaking away from Mahagathbandhan and tying up with the BJP. Kumar is known to hold cards close to his chest, quite like Narendra Modi.
But managing the party in the state, negotiating with the Centre, and breaking and stitching new coalitions is something that even the wily Chief Minister from Nalanda can’t do all by himself. Even in this latest political turnaround, he has been helped by some of his most trusted aides.
These six men have seen Nitish through thick and thin and are closely working with him to see JD(U) through Friday’s floor tests and many other tests that Nitish is likely to face in days to come.
Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh has been very close to Nitish since his first term as the Chief Minister. Singh was road construction minister during his first term. He was instrumental in the social engineering Nitish experimented to oust RJD in 2005. Singh, who hails from Lakhisarai, belongs to a dominant upper caste Bhumihar community.
Nitish had meticulously woven upper caste, Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) and Mahadalit combination to outwit strong Muslim-Yadav (MY) plus OBC combination of Lalu’s RJD. Singh successfully mobilized upper castes in the favour of Nitish-led NDA in Mithilanchal and Magadh area. He revolted against Nitish in 2010 but soon reconciled and was inducted as a minister in 2013.
Ex-UP Cadre civil servant Ramchandra Prasad Singh served as principal secretary to Nitish during his second term as the CM. Nitish sent him to Rajya Sabha and he is believed to be the key man who handles finances of the party. As a trusted strategist of Nitish, he reportedly played a key role in inflicting split in the RJD after Nitish decided to part ways with BJP in 2014. He is from Chief Minister’s constituency Nalanda and belongs to Kurmi community, the same caste of Nitish Kumar.
Vashishth Narayan Singh
Rajya Sabha MP and State JD(U) president, Vashishth Narayan Singh is a veteran politician. He started his political career as a member of legislative assembly in 1990. He was a minister in Lalu Prasad’s cabinet but broke ranks when Nitish Kumar formed Samata Party. He was elected president of the party and has continued his allegiance to Nitish till date. He hails from Buxar and belongs to Rajput community. Nitish consults him before taking any important decision. He will play a crucial role along with Lalan Singh and others to decide the formation of the new cabinet.
He is the chief spokesman of Nitish’s party and directs other colleagues over how to communicate their leader’s point of views to the public. He led from the front to counter Lalu and his son after the CBI filed an FIR against them in a land graft case. As a close strategist, Nitish keeps his doors open of him round the clock.
Having his base in Delhi, he is believed to be Nitish’s interlocutor for interacting with the union government and played a key role in talks in back channel discussions with the central leadership of the BJP that resulted in Nitish coming back to the NDA fold. He is considered very close to union finance minister Arun Jaitley.
Nitish has entrusted him with the task of expanding the root of the party in other states. He is national general secretary of the party. He has been projected at par with Sharad Yadav, who had stepped down as party’s president last year.
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