He may not have been a grassroots politician or enjoyed wide support base, but he is the chosen one; second-in-command and the one anointed to lead the party after Nitish Kumar.
The elevation of JD(U) leader Ramchandra Prasad Singh, popularly known as RCP Singh, to the Union Cabinet has much to do with the personal liking of Nitish Kumar for the man.
Sending RCP Singh from the JD(U) to the Centre, Nitish is, on the one hand, playing the Luv-Kush card (appeasing Koiri and Kurmi voters) and, on the other, ensuring that the leader acts as a safety buffer between the JD(U) and the BJP. RCP Singh’s proximity to several BJP leaders is quite well-known.
RCP Singh, a former IAS officer, had served as principal secretary to Nitish Kumar.
He opted for voluntary retirement in 2010 and joined the JD(U) following which he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
He was nominated to the Upper House again in 2016 and has been serving as the party’s general secretary.
It was earlier speculated that Nitish Kumar roped in poll strategist Prashant Kishore into the JD(U) and made him national vice-president to clip Singh’s growing clout.
Soon, Singh was at loggerheads with Kishore on a number of issues and didn’t shy away from airing criticism in public. The latter’s unceremonious exit was also allegedly scripted by Singh.
Singh then, Singh focused on building the party’s organizational base and was rewarded by Nitish with the national party president post.
Born in Nalanda district in 1958, RCP Singh cleared IAS even before he had graduated from college. He took the exams again two years later and joined the prestigious service in UP cadre.
He became close to Nitish Kumar when the latter was the railway minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime and soon became his Man Friday. When Nitish Kumar took oath as the chief minister of Bihar in 2005, RCP Singh became his Principal Secretary.
Singh soon emerged as the power centre under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, with politicians and bureaucrats lining up to meet him to get their work done.
Singh has faced his fair share of controversies, prime among them being the opposition allegation of ‘RCP tax’.
Accusing him of corruption, opposition leaders have alleged that no work in the state can be executed without paying the ‘RCP tax’. The JD(U) leader has denied all allegations.