Bureaucrat, politician and now minister, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh's meteoric rise began when he caught Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's attention.
Hailing from Nalanda district and belonging to the Kurmi caste, RCP, as he is often known, took oath of office as Union Cabinet minister on Wednesday. He entered Kumar's good books in the late 1990s when the then Samata Party leader was the Union Railway minister and the Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer was on a central deputation.
Impressed by Singh's abilities, Kumar borrowed him from the UP cadre and appointed him as his principal secretary after becoming the chief minister of Bihar.
However, Kumar seemed to have bigger plans for the 63-year-old Singh, who made his political debut in 2010, getting elected to the Rajya Sabha on a Janata Dal-United ticket after taking premature retirement from the civil service.
Though not seen as a mass leader, Singh was given the key party post of national general secretary (organisation) which he held till his elevation as the national president earlier this year, when Kumar relinquished the top post.
Seen as a man of few words, the diminutive Singh demonstrated that he was in tune with what was going on in the mind of his boss when he stoutly defended the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, which was being vehemently opposed by the then JD-U national vice president Prashant Kishor who was ultimately expelled.
The father of Lipi Singh, a young and dynamic Bihar cadre IPS officer who has won laurels for her crackdowns on some of the state's most dreaded criminals, RCP was understood to have been hopeful of his induction in the Union cabinet soon after the Lok Sabha polls of 2019.
However, BJP, which was on cloud nine after securing a thumping majority on its own, insisted that all allies should settle for a “token representation”. This left Nitish Kumar slighted, and the wily politician declared that the JD-U shall not join the government.
The loss of trusted allies like Shiv Sena in recent past and the realisation that in the caste-dominated politics of Bihar, BJP cannot do without Nitish Kumar, forced BJP to finally give Singh and the JD-U their honourable due.