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Upper caste leader Jagadanand Singh takes over as RJD Bihar

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Press Trust of India Patna
Veteran RJD leader Jagadanand Singh on Wednesday took over as the Bihar unit president of the party founded by Lalu Prasad 22 years ago, becoming the first upper caste leader to hold this post.
The appointment to the key post of Singh who belongs to the Rajput caste and is known for being mild-mannered and free from blemishes of corruption is being seen as an attempt by the party to repackage itself ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Bihar due next year.
Singh was declared elected unopposed as he was the sole candidate to have filed his nomination papers on Monday.
A formal announcement to the effect was made at the party's state executive meeting here, which was attended by senior leaders like party chief Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, RJD national general secretary Kanti Singh, outgoing state president Ram Chandra Purve and others.
The jailed RJD supremo's younger son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav remained conspicuous by his absence. He is in adjoining Jharkhand campaigning for the assembly elections.
At the state executive meeting, Tej Pratap Yadav and Purve sat next to each other in an apparent indication that they were ready to let bygones be bygones.
Tej Pratap Yadav had been accusing former state president Purve - an MLC and confidant of Tejashwi Yadav - of disrespecting those close to him.
Replacing Purve is being seen as an attempt by Prasad to pacify his elder son, who has been feeling slighted in the wake of the younger brother getting more prominence.
After the meeting, 74-year-old Jagadanand Singh went to Rabri Devi's residence where she presented him with the certificate of his appointment as the RJD's state unit chief.
The once formidable RJD has been going through a rough patch ever since Prasad's conviction in fodder scam cases ave causing him to remain behind the bars.
In the Lok Sabha polls this year, the party drew a blank in the state, which has 40 seats the worst-ever performance since RJD's foundation in 1997.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi took a swipe at the party over the appointment of Jagadanand Singh to the post.
"Lalu Prasad never handed over the reins of RJD's state unit to any one from the Savarna Samaj (upper castes) in the last 22 years," he said in a tweet.
In the distribution of tickets too, only two communities were always favored, Modi said in an oblique reference to the party's votebank of Muslims and Yadavs.
"Upon decimation in the Lok Sabha polls, when an upper caste leader has been appointed as the state president out of compulsion, the party has given him a lukewarm reception. While the formal announcement was being made, only the crown prince already sidelined in power struggle was present," Modi said training his guns at Tej Pratap Yadav.

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First Published: Nov 27 2019 | 8:45 PM IST

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