JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan asserted that disgruntled leader Upendra Kushwaha is now “not the party's parliamentary board chief". Lalan also said Mr Kushwaha was, now, "only a JDU MLC" though the former Union minister could get "re-nominated" to the top party post, subject to "continuance and commitment" (agar party mein rahenge, man se rahenge).
"Only the national president was elected at the party's national executive meet held in December (last year). No other office-bearer has since been appointed. So, Kushwaha is, technically, not the parliamentary board chief now," Lalan said Monday.
Notably, Mr Kushwaha had been holding the top party post since March, 2021, when he returned to the JD(U) merging his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.
Welcoming him into the party, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the supreme leader, had in a rare gesture announced forthwith that Mr Kushwaha would be the chairman of the parliamentary board.
Lalan's averment comes close on the heels of an "open letter" from Mr Kushwaha to party members, urging them to join him at a two-day conclave next week where discussions will be held on factors responsible for weakening of the JD(U), including a rumoured deal with the RJD.
"Kushwaha claims that he is concerned about the party's well being, while harming it by making public his dissatisfaction on a daily basis. I wish he could see the irony," the JD(U) president said.
Mr Kushwaha has been in a sulk ever since Mr Kumar ruled him out as another deputy Chief Minister, besides RJD's Tejashwi Yadav.
He had also claimed that his return to JD(U) was at the instance of Mr Kumar, who is in his 70s and had "expressed the wish that I run the party after him".
Lalan also dismissed Mr Kushwaha's allegation that the party post had been like a "lollipop" and he was not consulted while deciding on candidates for elections.
When asked whether the recalcitration could cost Mr Kushwaha his Vidhan Parishad berth, the JD(U) chief said cryptically "that is not for me to say. Disqualification of a member is the prerogative of chairman of the House".
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)