Patna: The Janata Dal (United) Tuesday dropped K.C. Tyagi as the party’s national general secretary and chief spokesperson, bringing the leader’s nearly two-decade-long stint as the face of the party in the national capital to an end.
The 73-year-old Tyagi did not find a mention in the list of 22 national general secretaries that JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh released Tuesday.
Former Member of Parliament and old war-horse Mangani Lal Mandal has been appointed national vice-president.
In Tyagi’s place, Rajiv Ranjan — an old JD(U) hand who returned to the party fold in January — has been appointed as the party’s national spokesperson.
Ranjan, who’s also a Kurmi leader like JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar — the current chief minister of Bihar — and comes from Nalanda district, had joined the BJP in August 2015, a year after he was suspended from JD(U) for six years.
He was the state vice–president when he quit the party in December.
The new appointments mean that JD(U)’s new national committee is now dominated by the “Luv-Kush” castes — the Kurmis and the Kushwahas. The castes have traditionally been the voter base of Nitish’s JDU.
On his part, Tyagi told ThePrint that he didn’t have much to lose.
“It’s been 48 years (in politics for me),” Tyagi told ThePrint. “I was first made the secretary of the erstwhile Lok Dal by Chaudhary Charan Singh. I was also made an office bearer by (old socialist leaders like) Raj Narayan, Devi Lal, former prime minister Chandrashekhar, and (former UP chief minister) Mulayam Singh Yadav. Nitish Kumar was the final one to appoint me.”
He further said: “I told Nitishji that I would stay on only if he remains the national president. I made this offer when R.C.P. Singh was made national president. I had reasserted my stand at the national executive meet of the party held in Patna last year and Nitishji said he would have to think about something else for me,” he said, adding he would remain in the JDU.
But for the party, Tyagi had been a major link to Delhi and its political circles.
“The problem is that though Rajiv Ranjan is a gentleman, he doesn’t enjoy the national recognition K.C. Tyagi does,” a JD(U) legislator who didn’t want to be named told ThePrint.
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The loyalist and the defender
It was through the late JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav that Tyagi first got in touch with Nitish in the late 90s and has since been a loyalist, firmly standing by the Bihar chief minister even when the other two leaders fell out in 2017.
It was Tyagi who gave hints to the press of Nitish’s impending break from the mahagathbandhan — an alliance comprising the JD(U), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress, and the Left — in 2017. And when the Bihar chief minister decided to break away from the BJP in 2022, Tyagi jumped to his defence.
“Nitish has not spoken one unsuitable word against (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi,” he had said then. “We want Narendra Modi to live till he is 100 but we will be political opponents, he declared
In August 2021, when the JD(U) was still an ally of the BJP, Tyagi had called Nitish “PM material”.
An old-school socialist, Tyagi has been finding himself increasingly sidelined by the party in the last few years — first with political strategist Prashant Kishor, then with R.C.P Singh, and later Lalan Singh — sources in the party said.
“K.C. Tyagi was not cut out to adjust to the new power structure in the party. He never made it to Nitish’s inner team and whenever there were talks about seat adjustments, Tyagi found himself left out as Lalan and RCP took charge,” a JD(U) minister who didn’t want to be named told ThePrint, adding that Tyagi had asked Nitish for a shot at another term in Rajya Sabha after his tenure ended in 2016 but his request was ignored.
When his son Amrish Tyagi joined the BJP in 2021, his position became even more tenuous, a party source said.
“During the last three years, he came to Patna only when there was a party function,” the JD (U) minister said.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)
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