The first list of 43 candidates released by BJP for upcoming Bihar Assembly polls includes one name that has surprised both party workers as well as political pundits of the state.
And that candidate is none other than Rajendra Singh, considered as one of the chief architects of BJP’s victory in recently held Jharkhand Assembly elections.
A resident of Rohtas district of Bihar, 49-year old Singh is presently the Sangthan Mantri (Organising General Secretary) of BJP’s Jharkhand unit. A full-time Pracharak of RSS, Singh was deputed to BJP around a decade back.
Singh has been made the party candidate from Dinara Assembly constituency. Last time, the BJP did not contest this seat as it went to alliance partner JD(U) under seat-sharing arrangement. Jay Kumar Singh of JD(U) had won this seat in 2010 Assembly elections.
Singh was a part of the 4-member core team that Amit Shah had formed in July this year to oversee Bihar Assembly elections. BJP has divided the entire state into 4 regions with each of these four leaders looking after one specific region.
Singh was given the responsibility of Patna-Magadh division which consists of 9 districts and 58 Assembly constituencies.
After assigning such a big responsibility, the party’s decision to field him as a candidate has come as a big surprise for political observers. And the reason is not that difficult to find out.
Generally, BJP does not ask its Organizing General Secretaries to contest elections as they handle the crucial task of coordinating between the party and RSS. The party, of course, made a few exceptions in the past and two big examples are – PM Narendra Modi and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.
As is evident from these two examples, whenever the party made exception in favour of any leader, he made it big and that’s why the candidature of Singh has raised the curiosity of political pundits.
With the formal announcement of Rajendra Singh’s candidature, political circles are abuzz with speculations over whether he would prove to be Manohar Lal Khattar of Bihar.
It should be recalled that Manohar Lal Khattar was a surprise selection for CM post in Haryana. He emerged as the dark horse in the race for Chief Ministership. Political observers point out that he was Narendra Modi’s personal choice for Haryana CM post and that he was part of Modi’s scheme of things in Haryana from the time the party selected candidates for state elections.
Manohar Lal Khattar made debut in electoral politics as a candidate in 2014 Haryana Assembly elections and after the party emerged victorious in these elections, he was given the responsibility of leading the first ever government of the party in the state.
It is said that Modi preferred Khattar over other contenders because of his clean track record and non-controversial image. Another important reason was that PM Modi wanted to hand over the baton of governance to someone who was not part of any particular camp of the faction-ridden state unit.
Bihar BJP is also besieged with similar problems. The state unit, like Haryana BJP, is divided into many factions. And it would not be surprising if PM Modi picks out somebody who is not part of any group to lead the government in case BJP-led NDA wins Assembly elections.
Political analysts are of the opinion that the surprise inclusion of Rajendra Singh in the BJP list could very well turn out to be a part of PM Modi’s post-poll plans. And the resemblance with Manohar Lal case can’t be simply wished away.
Rajendra Singh’s stature received a boost within BJP after the party scored a spectacular victory in Jharkhand Assembly elections. Singh is widely admired for his management skills within the organization. He has earned respect for putting his heart out in his efforts while maintaining a low-profile image.
Rajendra Singh was also associated with ABVP, the student wing of RSS. He was Oraganising secretary of ABVP’s Kanpur unit. After formally joining BJP, he also worked as General Secretary of BJP in Kashi and Awadh regions.