Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) appointed Munger MP Lalan Singh as the party’s national president on Saturday. The move was necessitated after JD(U) chief RCP Singh, who was inducted into the recently revamped Narendra Modi Cabinet, resigned from the post. The change of guard took place at the party office in Delhi.
This is the first time in 18 years of JD(U)’s history that a leader from the upper caste has been given the party’s command at the national level. It also follows the party’s fall to the third position in state after last year’s assembly elections. The decision to select Lalan Singh is considered as a move to reach out to the forward castes in the state. In the last assembly elections, the party not only slipped to third spot, it also came second in NDA alliance for the first time as BJP won more seats than JD(U). The party insiders think that forward castes did not support the party as much as the alliance partner.
Since its formation on October 30, 2003, the JD(U) has had three presidents, who were all from OBC community. First JD(U) president Sharad Yadav was from the Yadav community and Nitish Kumar and RCP Singh belonged to the Kurmi community in Bihar.
Except from June, 2013 to August, 2017, the JD(U) has been a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Centre and in state.
Notably, after the end of Lalu Prasad-led RJD rule in 2005, Bihar has always had JD(U) chief ministers. At present, JD(U) has 16 Lok Sabha MPs and 43 MLAs in Bihar Assembly. The only minister from the party in Modi Cabinet is RCP Singh.
Who is Lalan Singh?
Lalan Singh is a Member of Parliament from Munger Parliamentary Constituency of Bihar. He was also the state president of JD(U) and served as minister in the state govt. He is known to be very close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. After RCP Singh became minister in the Modi government, it was expected that JD(U) will elect a new president and the decision to elect Lalan Singh as the chief was taken in the National Executive of the party in presence of Nitish Kumar.