Thursday, December 23, 2010

Akhlaq Ahmed Seeks Resignation from RJD President

Former minister and parliamentary secretary Akhlaq Ahmed has demanded that Lalu Prasad should step down from the post of National President of Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) owning moral responsibility for party's crushing defeat in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha elections. Lalu had termed the performance of JDU-BJP as "rahasyamaye jeet".

The two-day meeting of the RJD to review defeat in the Vidhan Sabha elections during 21-22 December was attended by only two party MPs, Lalu and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. Jagdanand Singh and Uma Shankar Singh, MP from RJD were absent. The review meeting was attended by party MLAs and defeated MLAs. Party MLAs said that 18 per cent of Yadav voters were with RJD but the party did not reach beyond the M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) combination.

Earlier, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, former RJD Union Minister expressed his disappointment with Lalu Prasads’s poll strategy saying, "Rabri Devi, our former Chief Minister, lost from both seats. The Deputy CM candidate of the RJD-LJP coalition also couldn’t win his seat. I think projecting Lalu Prasad as the CM-candidate had negative impact. Voters might have related his candidature with those dark days of the RJD rule. He should not have projected himself as the CM. Arre bhai, you are the party leader. You are the owner of the whole building. Why would you say that I want to occupy a room (CM’s chair)?". He added, "Former MP, Prabhunath Singh, joined our party from JD(U) and proved to be a liability. Lalu Prasad made a gross mistake by putting up a candidate against Putul Singh, wife of the late Digvijay Singh, in the Banka Lok Sabha by-poll. We lost at least 10 to 12 seats because of this decision, as Rajput voters fumed." RJD contested the by-polls for Banka Lok Sabha seat that became vacant after the death of Digvijay Singh and lost. In an interview with Business Standard on November 25, 2010, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said, "Lalu Prasad also made a mistake after the assembly by-poll last year. Nitish Kumar lost miserably but quickly rectified his line of action. We won and got carried away. There was no reason to give so many seats to Ramvilas Paswan."

Ahmed said that RJD suffered in the elections because Lalu Yadav did not review the outcome of results during the 2005 Vidhan Sabha elections. RJD's organizational structure has become quite weak. Ahmed was denied ticket during the recent elections. Ahmed was Samata Party's national General Secretary in 1997.
RJD won only 22 seats out of a total of 243 Vidhan Sabha seats. At the review meeting of RJD, the party attributed its defeat to "sharp division" in "secular and social justice" votes and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) as some of the factors. Other key RJD leaders present included Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Raghunath Jha, Ghulam Gaus, Uday Manjhi, Shakeel Ahmed Khan, Veena Shahi, and Shakuni Chowdhary.

RJD's state president Ramchandra Purvey cancelled the scheduled meeting with the media. He informed that the party would again meet on January 24, 2010 to ascertain the reason behind RJD's defeat in the assembly polls. Purvey said that from now on 50 percent seats would be reserved for Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) and Mahadalits in party's organizational structure.

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