Rashtriya Janata Dal
PresidentLalu Prasad Yadav
ChairpersonTejashwi Yadav
Rajya Sabha LeaderPrem Chand Gupta
Founded5 July 1997 (26 years ago) (1997-07-05)
Split fromJanata Dal
Headquarters13, V. P. House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi, India-110001
Student wingChhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal
Youth wingYuva Rashtriya Janata Dal
Women's wingMahila Rashtriya Janata Dal
Political positionLeft-wing[5][1]
Colours  Green
Slogan"Samaj Ka Bal, Rashtriya Janata Dal"
ECI StatusState party
Seats in Lok Sabha
0 / 543
Seats in Rajya Sabha
6 / 245
Seats in State Legislative Assemblies
Seats in Bihar Legislative Council
14 / 75
Number of states and union territories in government
2 / 31
Election symbol
Party flag

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (abbreviated as RJD; translation: National People's Party) is an Indian political party, based in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Kerala. The party was founded in 1997 by Lalu Prasad Yadav.[6][7]

The party's support base has traditionally been Other Backward Classes, Dalits and Muslims and it is considered a political champion of the lower castes.[8] In 2008, RJD received the status of recognized national level party following its performance in north-eastern states.[9] RJD was derecognised as a national party on 30 July 2010.[10] Leading the Mahagathbandhan government with over 165 MLAs, it is currently the official opposition and single largest political party in Bihar. RJD is part of Ruling Government in Jharkhand and Kerala with its allies in Mahagathbandhan (Jharkhand) and LDF respectively.[11]



RJD Women's wing office in Delhi

On 5 July 1997, Pappu Yadav, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Mohammad Shahabuddin, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Kanti Singh, Mohammed Taslimuddin along with seventeen Lok Sabha MPs and eight Rajya Sabha MPs along with supporters gathered at New Delhi formed the new political party, Rashtriya Janata Dal. It was formed as breakaway of Janata Dal. Lalu Prasad was elected as the first president of RJD. It is a centre-left party.

In the March 1998 national elections, RJD won 17 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar but failed to make significant headway in any other state. Later that year, the party formed an alliance with Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party as an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party secular coalition but the coalition failed in garnering any widespread support.


In the October 1999 elections, RJD fought the election in alliance with Indian National Congress but lost 10 Lok Sabha seats including the seat of Lalu Prasad Yadav.

In the 2000 state elections, however, it performed well, winning a majority of the seats in the state assembly in Bihar. Continuing its upswing in electoral fortunes, the party won 24 Lok Sabha seats in the 2004 elections that it fought in alliance with Indian National Congress. It was a part of Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) from 2004 - May 2009, wherein Lalu Yadav held the position of the Minister of Railways.

In February 2005 Bihar Legislative Assembly election RJD won only 75 seats and lost the power. In the state elections held later that year – as a result of no party being able to form a government and RJD continued its downward slide winning only 54 seats.

In 2009 Indian general election, the RJD broke its alliance from UPA when seat sharing talks failed. RJD formed its alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party and Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party what the media has dubbed the "Fourth Front". RJD performed poorly and won just four seats, all of them in Bihar. However, in 2010 Assembly election, the RJD did not continue their alliance with Samajwadi Party.

In the 2014 Indian general election, RJD came back to UPA and contested election in alliance with Indian National Congress and Nationalist Congress Party in Bihar. Out of 40 seats in Bihar, RJD will contest on 27 seats, INC on 12 and NCP on one. RJD won only four out of total forty Loksabha seats in Bihar.[12][13][14][15][16]


The party leadership consists of the following bodies.

National President

Lalu Prasad Yadav is the National President of RJD.

National Vice President

The national vice president members of the party Mangani Lal Mandal, Mohammad Ilyas Hussain, Ahmed Ashfaq Karim, Rabri Devi, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Shivanand Tiwary and Mehboob Ali Kaiser

National Secretary general: Abdul Bari Siddiqui.

National Treasurer: Sunil Kumar Singh[17]

Political Affairs Committee

National Executive Committee

The national executive members of the party Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav, Misa Bharti, Prem Chandra Gupta, Manoj Jha, Abdul Bari Siddiqui and Ram Chandra Purve.[18]

The Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar

Main article: Mahagathbandhan (Bihar)

On 14 April 2015, the RJD, Janata Dal (United), Janata Dal (Secular), the Indian National Lok Dal, Samajwadi Party, and Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) announced that they would merge into a new national Janata Parivar alliance in order to oppose the BJP, thus breaking their long time alliance with the INC.[19] This would give the alliance 14 Lok Sabha seats and 30 Rajya Sabha seats.

On 7 May 2015, the RJD expelled Pappu Yadav for six years due to anti-RJD activities after speculation rose that he may join the Biju Janata Dal for the 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly election but he formed a new party called Jan Adhikar Party.[20]

In November 2015, RJD won the elections as party became the single largest party with 80 followed by Janata Dal (United) with 71 seats, BJP with 53 seats and Congress with 27 seats. In terms of vote share, BJP came first with 24.4%, followed by RJD with 18.4% and JD (U) with 16.8% and Congress got 6.7%. Janata Dal (United)'s Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister and Lalu's son Tejashwi Yadav became the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.

In July 2017, following the corruption cases against Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish Kumar asked Yadav to resign from the cabinet, which was refused by RJD. In order to protect his clean image towards corruption, Nitish Kumar resigned on 26 July 2017, ending RJD's stake in Bihar government. What followed next was a coalition BJP and JDU as a result Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister again whereas Sushil Modi, a prominent BJP leader became the Deputy Chief Minister.[21][22][23]

Alliance between Indian National Congress and the RJD factioned in October 2021,[24][25] when Tejashwi gave tickets to candidates in Bihar By-elections,[26] where Congress was fixed to stand candidates.[27][28]

In August 2022, the Mahagathbandhan, Janata Dal (United), Indian National Congress, Hindustan Awam Morcha and Left Front joined again to form 2/3rd Majority government in Bihar Legislative Assembly.[29]

In January 2024, Nitish Kumar left the Mahagathbandhan once again and joined hands with the BJP. He later became the chief minister once again.

Controversies and Criticism

The Rashtriya Janata Dal has a history of involvement in caste-based politics, support for criminals, political corruption, along with creating a jungle raj in Bihar.

Mohammad Shahabuddin, a leader of RJD, has been involved in several criminal cases. Shahabuddin has been accused of several murders, be it of political rivals, or police officers. [30] Shahabuddin, through his lawyers, attempted to also intimidate the legal proceedings, which led to more criminal cases against him.[31]

During Lalu Prasad Yadav's tenure as Chief Minister, Bihar's law and order was at lowest,[32][33] kidnapping was on rise and private armies mushroomed.[34] He was also criticized by opposition in the Shilpi-Gautam Murder case and the death of his daughter Ragini Yadav's friend, Abhishek Mishra, in mysterious circumstances.[35][36]

An investigation in the land-for-jobs scam implicated Tejashwi Yadav and Rabri Devi, Lalu Prasad Yadav's son and wife, as well as in other corruption scandals.[37] Tejashwi Yadav allegedly threatened Central Bureau of Investigation agents who were investigating him in another corruption case.[38]

The Rashtriya Janata Dal has been allegedly found to have links with the Ranvir Sena, a militia functioning as a landlord group, which has frequently targeted lower caste communities. The Ranvir Sena has been accused of inciting riots and mass killings against Dalit community across the state.[39]

Electoral performance

Lok Sabha elections

Lok Sabha Term Indian
General election
Votes Polled % of
State (seats) Ref.
13th Lok Sabha 1999 61 7 10,150,492 2.79 Bihar (7)
14th Lok Sabha 2004 42 24 9,384,147 2.4 Bihar (22) Jharkhand (2)
15th Lok Sabha 2009 44 4 5,280,084 1.3 Bihar (4)
16th Lok Sabha 2014 30 4 7,442,313 1.4 Bihar (4)
17th Lok Sabha 2019 21 0 6,631,585 1.1 N/A [40]

Bihar Vidhan Sabha (Lower House) Election

Vidhan Sabha Term Assembly Elections Seats Contested Seats Won % of votes % of votes
in seats contested
Party Votes Ref
11th Vidhan Sabha 2000 293 124 28.34 31.28 10,500,361 [41]
12th Vidhan Sabha 2005 February 210 71 25.07 28.35 6,140,223 [42]
13th Vidhan Sabha 2005 October 175 54 23.45 32.63 5,525,081 [43]
14th Vidhan Sabha 2010 168 22 18.84 27.31 5,475,656 [44]
15th Vidhan Sabha 2015 101 80 18.4 44.35 6,995,509 [45]
16th Vidhan Sabha 2020 144 75 23.11 38.96 9,738,855 [46]

Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha Election

Vidhan Sabha Term Jharkhand Assembly Elections Seats Contested Seats Won % of votes Party Votes Ref
2nd Vidhan Sabha 2005 51 7 8.48 [47]
3rd Vidhan Sabha 2009 56 5 5.03 517,324 [48]
4th Vidhan Sabha 2014 19 0 3.13 133,815 [49]
5th Vidhan Sabha 2019 7 1 2.75 413,167 [50]

List of chief ministers

Chief ministers

No. Name Term in office Party Assembly (Election)
1 Lalu Prasad Yadav 10 March 1990 28 March 1995 5 years, 18 days Janata Dal Tenth Assembly
2 Lalu Prasad Yadav 4 April 1995 25 July 1997 2 years, 112 days Janata Dal Eleventh Assembly
3 Rabri Devi 25 July 1997 11 February 1999 1 year, 201 days Rashtriya Janata Dal Eleventh Assembly
4 Rabri Devi 9 March 1999 2 March 2000 359 days Rashtriya Janata Dal Eleventh Assembly
5 Rabri Devi 11 March 2000 6 March 2005 4 years, 360 days Rashtriya Janata Dal Twelfth Assembly

Deputy chief ministers

No. Name Term in office Assembly (Election)
1. Tejashwi Yadav 26 November 2015 26 July 2017 1 year, 244 days 17th Bihar Assembly
2. Tejashwi Yadav 10 August 2022 28 January 2024 1 year, 171 days 18th Bihar Assembly

List of central ministers

No. Name Term of office Portfolio Prime Minister
1 Lalu Prasad Yadav 24 May 2004 22 May 2009 Minister of Railways Manmohan Singh
2 Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav 24 May 2004 22 May 2009 Minister of Water Resources Manmohan Singh
3 Taslimuddin 24 May 2004 22 May 2009 Ministry of Agriculture and Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Manmohan Singh
4 Kanti Singh 24 May 2004 22 May 2009 Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism
Minister of Women and Child Development
Manmohan Singh
5 Raghuvansh Prasad Singh 24 May 2004 24 May 2009 Minister of Rural Development Manmohan Singh
6 Md. Ali Ashraf Fatmi 24 May 2004 24 May 2009 Ministry of Human Resource Development Manmohan Singh
7 Raghunath Jha 24 May 2004 24 May 2009 Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Manmohan Singh

Prominent members

See also


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