Dogged by caste complexities in Bihar, Congress fails to find new chief
For two years now, the Congress leadership has been hunting for a new chief, but unable to do so due to the state’s caste complexities.india Updated: May 27, 2017 23:42 IST
In an attempt to balance caste equations, the Congress has not only failed to name a new chief in Bihar in two years, it also has not been able to enforce the one-man one-post norm since 2015.
The current Bihar Congress president, Ashok Chaudhary, is also a cabinet minister in the state government and holding the important education portfolio. Under his leadership, the Congress fought the 2015 assembly elections as a junior partner in the victorious grand alliance that comprised the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
For two years now, the Congress leadership has been hunting for a new chief, but unable to do so due to the state’s caste complexities.
Bihar Congress leaders have repeatedly approached the leadership with a request to change Chaudhary, arguing that being a minister he was unable to devote much time to the organisational matters. A section in the state Congress wants a Brahmin to be given the charge.
Brahmin leaders have often complained of being ignored in the party that was once dominated by the community.
Jagannath Mishra was the last Brahmin leader to head the Congress in Bihar in 1992. He was also the last Congress chief minister from December 1989 to March 1990.
The Mandal politics saw the decline of the Congress and the rise of regional leaders such as Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar in the state’s political landscape.
In the past 25 years, the Congress worked different combinations of caste and religion to not only check the erosion of its support base but also see its resurgence.
It has tried four Muslim chiefs — Hidaytullah Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shakeel Ahmed and Mehboob Ali Kaiser — two Bhumihars, Ramjatan Sinha and Anil Sharma, while backward leader Sadanand Singh twice headed the state unit. In between, Chandan Bagchi also led the party but he was always considered a Bengali Brahmin.