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Factions threaten Cong comeback

State elections are due in Bihar in six months and the Congress is at war with itself in the eastern state.

delhi Updated: Apr 14, 2010 01:09 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

State elections are due in Bihar in six months and the Congress is at war with itself in the eastern state.

Factionalism is threatening the party’s efforts to stage a comeback in the state after 20 years. The state unit is split down the middle with one faction owing allegiance to party’s Bihar in-charge Jagdish Tytler and the other to state party chief Anil Sharma. Calls for removal of the two leaders are also growing.

A Tytler camp leader accused Sharma of causing split in the ranks. “He spends more time in Delhi than in Bihar,” he said.

“Sharma has travelled about 860,00 km in Bihar… He has given a new lease of life to the party,” retorted a supporter.

Both the Congressmen refused to be named considering the sensitivity of the matter.

If Sharma were removed, it would send a message that the leadership was backing criminal forces like Pappu Yadav and Sadhu Yadav, the leader said.

A show-cause notice to Sadhu Yadav — accusing him of organising protests against Sharma at Gopalgunj on April 5 — has triggered the latest round of infighting. Sadhu has to send in his reply by April 14.

Sharma had on March 9 suspended Sadhu, estranged brother-in-law of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, for opposing the women's reservation Bill. Tytler revoked the order within 24 hours.

This time, too, Tytler has ordered an inquiry and the report is expected within a day or two.

The Tytler camp is trying to project Pappu Yadav-Sadhu Yadav as an alternative to Lalu Prasad. Instead of wooing the duo, the party should focus on upper castes and Muslims, counters the other group.

Both Sharma and Tytler are awaiting an audience with party president Sonia Gandhi.

“The leadership is not recognising the urgency of the matter. Elections are a few months away and there cannot be a status quo on the state leadership issue,” said a Congress leader, refusing to be identified.