PATNA: In a jolt to RJD ahead of the Bihar polls, senior leader Raghunath Jha today resigned from his post and primary membership of the party, accusing party president Lalu Prasad of ignoring senior leaders and putting entire focus on his family.
Considered the Brahmin face of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Jha, 76, a former minister of state for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise, said he is joining Samajwadi Party (SP).
In a letter sent to Prasad, Jha said, "I have been with you in thick and thin for the last 25 years. But, seeing your behaviour these days towards party workers and neglect towards me, I am resigning from the primary membership of the party and the post of its national vice-president."
Talking to PTI, Jha, a member of the 14th Lok Sabha from Bettiah constituency, elaborated about the reasons behind his leaving RJD. He accused Prasad of indulging in 'family politics' at the cost of party workers and senior leaders.
"The behaviour of Prasad has been very bad towards workers senior leaders. He would never seek any opinion or suggestions from us. His entire focus is on his family and children, and how to take them ahead in politics," Jha said.
The veteran leader said RJD has deteriorated to such an extent that no meetings of its core committee or parliamentary board were held in recent times.
"I will now join Samajwadi Party (SP) and strengthen it in the state. My son Ajit Kumar Jha, who has twice been an MLA from Sheohar constituency will also follow suit," he added.
Jha said RJD and JD(U) are being led by leaders who "have become so much full of ego that they are ignoring all others".
"Just see what they did to Mulayam Singh Yadav. He had anointed Nitish Kumar as the leader of Grand Alliance forged to take on NDA, but RJD and JD(U) conveniently forgot him when the time for seat-sharing came. This is akin to treachery.
People of the state will judge their behaviour in the coming polls. I am glad that SP has broken away from the alliance," he said.
Jha entered active politics in 1960s as a Socialist before switching over to Congress, Janata Party, RJD, Samata Party and then back to RJD.
He was six times MLA from Sheohar constituency and twice elected as a Lok Sabha member. He was considered close to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.
He was a minister in Bihar cabinet for seven years from 1990 to 1997 and held important portfolios including agriculture, land revenue and parliamentary affairs.
Considered a close friend of Prasad, Jha had quit RJD in 1998 after being denied party ticket in the Lok Sabha polls. He joined the then Samata Party and successfully contested elections from Gopalganj constituency.
Later, he returned to RJD after a rapprochement with Prasad.