In a major setback ahead to Bihar's main opposition RJD ahead of the state assembly polls, party's senior leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh resigned from the party on Thursday.
Singh, a former Union Minister, was party's national vice president and was considered close to Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Singh had earlier announced his resignation in June but was persuaded by Lalu to stay back.
From AIIMS To RIMS
Raghuvansh Prasad is currently admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi where he is undergoing treatment for post- COVID complications.
Lalu, on the other hand, is admitted to another hospital at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi. He is serving his jail sentence after being convicted in fodder scam and was shifted to hospital following health issues.
In a brief hand-written letter to the RJD supremo, the veteran leader said he was quitting the party.
"Since the death of Jannayak Karpoori Thakur, I stood behind you for 32 years, but not now," he wrote.
"I got the affection of party leaders and workers, besides common people. Please forgive me," he added.
Thakur was a prominent socialist leader and former Bihar chief minister, known as mentor to leaders like Lalu, Nitish KumarRam Vilas Paswan.
Reason behind resignation
Discontent has been brewing in the RJD for quite some time as several senior leaders from the party, who started their career with Lalu, feel sidelined after the rise of Tejashwi Yadav. Singh, a close confidante of Lalu for decades, was one of those leaders who seem to have rejected Tejashwi's leadership.
Party sources said he has not been happy with the style of functioning of Prasad's heir apparent.
What loss of Raghuvansh Prasad means for RJD
While the RJD at its face looked like a one-man army of Lalu Prasad, who was the face of the party, he drew his strength from the leaders like Raghuvansh Prasad. He was first elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1977 and have represented the people in various capacities since then. He was a five-term MP from Vaishali, first elected in 1996 Lok Sabha election.
Losing a leader of such a stature is a huge loss for the RJD. But more than that, it is a personal loss for Lalu Yadav who now depends, more than ever, on such senior leaders to guide his son. When a miffed Raghuvansh announced his plans to quit the party in June over the induction of Rama Singh, Lalu himself called him and persuaded him to stay. He also got Tejashwi to visit the ailing leader at the hospital.
It, however, looks that all the efforts of Lalu and Tejashwi went in vain.
'You are not going anywhere': Lalu writes back
Lalu responded to Raghuvansh Prasad's letter saying that they will talk when the latter is well.
"We will talk once you are well. You are not going anywhere," the RJD chief said.