Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, whose recent resignation from the RJD founded and headed by Lalu Prasad has left political waters in Bihar astir, has fallen critically ill and put on a ventilator, a close aide said on Saturday.
Mr Singh, who has been admitted at AIIMS, Delhi for about a week after developing post-COVID complications, resigned from the primary membership of the party on Thursday and followed it up with an open letter, a day later, addressed to Lalu Prasad's arch rival and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, triggering speculations about his future moves.
"Singh sahib's condition deteriorated considerably last night. At 11.56 pm, he was put on ventilator. We are praying for his well-being", the aide, who remains by the side of the septuagenarian, told PTI-Bhasha over phone.
A staunch loyalist of the RJD chief whom he supported through thick and thin, Mr Singh ran afoul with the party a few months ago when murmurs about mafia don turned politician Rama Singh, his rival in Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency, led him to resign from the post of the national vice-president.
A cabinet colleague of Lalu Prasad in the Manmohan Singh government, Mr Singh thereby stymied Rama Singh's entry into the party and although he did not give up the primary membership at that time, he stayed away from the RJD's day to day affairs which was attributed, in part, to his ill-health.
On Thursday, his hand-written note addressed to Lalu Prasad declaring that he has had enough went viral on the social media.
On the same day, the RJD chief sent a letter to Mr Singh from Ranchi, making an emotional appeal to his companion for over three decades not to leave the party.
On Friday, Mr Singh wrote another letter from hospital, this time addressed to Nitish Kumar, which was seen as his attempt to cosy up to the chief minister, who heads the JD(U) and has been a fierce rival of the RJD chief for decades.
Often called the architect of the MNREGA scheme, which was floated when he was the Union minister for rural development, Mr Singh has been in political wilderness for some time, having lost two consecutive elections in 2014 and 2019 from Vaishali which he has represented in the Lok Sabha a record five times.
His relations with Tejashwi Yadav, younger son and heir apparent of Lalu Prasad, turned sour when he started pitching for Nitish Kumar back to the Grand Alliance helmed by the RJD, after the party received its worst-ever drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls last year.
The JD(U) is said to be keen to win over Mr Singh, a highly respected leader, in the run up to the assembly elections, and speculations have been rife that it is mooting a legislative council berth for the former Union minister's son.