Caught in Mahagathbandhan fireworks, RJD MLC Sunil Singh a known Nitish Kumar-baiter


Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLC Sunil Kumar Singh, who was in the news recently for his heated exchange with Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar, has been a known critic of Nitish for years.

On March 25, 2022 – when the JD(U) as an NDA ally was a key rival of the Lalu Prasad-led RJD – Sunil had taken a swipe at Nitish’s greeting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the swearing-in ceremony of Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, saying he “bent from his waist” to greet the PM.

Days later, during the budget session of the Bihar Legislature, Sunil had launched a scathing attack on Nitish’s “development model”. He was suspended for a day in the same session for “unparliamentary behaviour”.

During the proceedings of the Legislative Council in the course of the session, Sunil also had an argument with the CM. Talking to media persons later, he said he had not become an MLC because of Nitish’s “blessings”.

More recently, came his tirade against JD (U) leader and Education Minister Chandra Shekhar who, he said, was just discussing the “Ramcharitmanas instead of education reforms”.

Sunil also hit out at Bihar additional chief secretary K K Pathak, charging that the CM has kept “four-five chosen bureaucrats to keep ministers under control”. He later also took on JD(U) leader Ashok Kumar Choudhary for his “political flip-flops” – from the Congress to JD (U).

The simmering tension between Nitish and Sunil finally boiled over last Monday. Tearing into him, Nitish asked him if he intended to join the BJP. The CM was referring to the MLC’s meeting on July 1 with Union Home and Cooperative minister Amit Shah in his capacity as chairman of the Bihar State Cooperative Marketing Union Limited (BISCOMAUN).

Hitting back at the CM, Sunil said no one could question his “loyalty” to the RJD. Singh told reporters later that he had been with the RJD for the last 28 years and that he was committed to the RJD for life.

This showdown came at a meeting of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) – of which the JD(U) and RJ(D) have been the senior-most partners – just before the commencement of the Bihar Assembly’s monsoon session. With the two major partners attempting to send out a signal of unity, the heated exchange seemed to have created unease in the ruling coalition.

This was evident from Lalu Prasad’s statement later that day that only he and Deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who was present at the meeting, should address the media on party affairs.

Close Lalu, Tejashwi aide

The 58-year-old RJD leader became an MLC for the first time in 2017 but he currently assumes a significant role in the party. This is largely owing to his loyalty to Lalu and Tejashwi. He also faced the CBI’s raids in connection with a land-for-job case in which Tejashwi has been chargesheeted on July 3.

He was the RJD treasurer for 23 years, with his term having ended in April this year. He is also said to have played an important role in the selection of the party candidates for the 2020 Assembly polls.

Despite his regular criticism of Nitish, Sunil has not faced any reprimand from the RJD leadership publicly until Monday’s episode.


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