Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, one of the founding leader of the RJD and long-time associate of Lalu Prasad Yadav, on Thursday resigned from the party.
Writing his resignation letter from the hospital bed in AIIMS, New Delhi to Lalu, who is admitted to Ranchi's Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Singh said, "I stood behind you for 32 years, but not now."
The former mathematics professor who taught at Bihar University was pithy in his letter to the party chief.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is admitted to AIIMS for post- COVID complications. He is said to be on oxygen support. He had recovered from Corona last month when he was admitted in Patna AIIMS. Later, the 74-year-old former Union minister was rushed to a leading private hospital at Gurugram and then to AIIMS.
Family members claimed Raghuvansh Prasad, who started his political career with Lalu in 1977, wrote and signed the letter himself.
"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.
Last month, he had resigned as vice-president of the party following the admission of his political rival Rama Singh into the party. Rama, a strongman of Vaishali, had defeated him in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The former Bihar University professor started his electoral career in 1977, the same year when Lalu was first elected to Lok Sabha. Raghuvansh was energy minister in Karpoori Thakur ministry in Bihar and later became the chairman of Bihar Legislative Council.
He was elected to Lok Sabha four times. As Union Minister, he led the Rural Development Ministry in UPA government and is said to have been the key driver of now popular National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, commonly known by its acronym MNREGA.
The veteran socialist leader is said to have been uncomfortable under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav, the heir apparent of Lalu. Raghuvansh had written a letter to Lalu in January this year and had complained against Tejashwi 's style of functioning and alleged humiliations to senior party leaders.
He had gone to Ranchi also to meet Lalu and register his protest against Tejashwi.
He was also upset with the "dictatorship" of the state party president, Jagdanand Singh. He alleged that the new party president was behaving like an autocrat and had closed the entrance of the party for the common workers.
His complaints and grievances were, however, ignored.
His family members said the veteran leader was feeling hurt over the statement of the elder son of Lalu, Tej Pratap Yadav who had commented that taking out one pot of water from the ocean will not affect the party.
While there is no official announcement on his next move, he is expected to join the JD(U) after his discharge from the hospital, ruling party sources indicated. The BJP, JD(U) alliance partner in Bihar, has also sent feelers to the veteran leader.
The story, however, is far from over, with RJD supremo writing to the estranged leader that he would discuss with Singh on the resignation as soon as he recovers.
"A letter written by you is making rounds in the media. I can't believe it. I, my family and the RJD family would like to see you get well soon and be among us. In the last four decades, we have discussed every political, social and even family matters together. Get well soon and we will talk. You are not going anywhere, understand this," Lalu said in his letter in Hindi.
The departure of Raghuvansh Prasad from the RJD will hurt the political fortunes of two sons of Lalu who won the last assembly election from constituencies that fall in the area of influence of the senior socialist leader. He enjoys considerable influence on the Rajput voters in Vaishali and their opposition to Tejashwi and Tej Pratap in the coming assembly elections may harm the two young leaders.
Tej Pratap, who is likely to face a challenge from his estranged wife Aishwarya, has decided to shift to Hasanpur, a Yadav dominated constituency in neighbouring Samastipur district from Vaishali's Mahua seat.