Scindia rules out desertion by Bihar Cong MLAs; announces rally against Nitish
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, rushed to Patna on Friday amid speculation some MLAs may desert the party following the collapse of the grand alliance government on July 26.india Updated: Aug 11, 2017 20:23 IST
Ruling out any possibility of a split in the state Congress legislature party (CLP), senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday accused the BJP of trying to strangulate democracy by poaching legislators and ‘misusing’ august offices to hijack popular mandates.
Scindia, who is deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, rushed to Patna along with Rajya Sabha member JP Agrawal to meet legislators and senior party leaders and take stock of the situation after desertion fears hit the party, following the collapse of the Grand Alliance (GA) on July 26.
The 20-month-old GA government fell when CM Kumar resigned, citing the failure of his deputy, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, to “clear the air” on a CBI FIR against him as a beneficiary in an alleged scam from 2006, when his father, Lalu Prasad, was railways minister.
On the following day, Kumar formed a new government with the BJP, a party against which the GA, comprising the JD (U), RJD and the Congress, had won a big popular mandate in the 2015 Bihar assembly poll.
With BPCC chief Ashok Choudhary and CLP leader Sadanand Singh maintaining silence on Nitish Kumar’s ‘betrayal’, it was being feared that a majority of party legislators might desert the Congress to join the JD (U).
Scindia, however, dismissed the perception, saying party leaders at a meeting on Friday passed a resolution slamming Nitish Kumar for betraying the people’s mandate and decided to take the issue to the masses with all power at their command.
“All our legislators are intact and they attended the urgently convened meeting,” said Scindia, oblivious of the absence of at least six MLAs, including former minister Abdul Jalil Mastan. Others who skipped the meeting were Purnima Yadav, Anil Kumar, Sudarshan (all of them were offered Congress tickets on Nitish Kumar’s recommendations), Tausif Alam and Dr Javed.
Scindia attacked the BJP for tampering with popular mandates and said Bihar was one example of how the ‘saffron party’ operated to make a mockery of democratic practices.
“It has forged an alliance of immorality (adharma ka gathbandhan) in Bihar. They formed the government in Goa, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, even though they did not have the majority,” he added.
The BPCC chief said the party would organise a rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan after Dussehra to protest against the disrespect to the mandate. “Soon after the organisational elections, the party will launch a campaign to sensitise the masses about the mischief played by the chief minister and appeal to them to join the rally,” he said.
The visiting leaders, however, refused to comment on the fate of party’s tie up with the RJD, saying that it was an issue to be decided by the party high command.
Factional feud in the party surfaced in the presence of before the visiting leaders as supporters of former Union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh and former vice president Prem Chandra Mishra shouted slogans at the airport against BPCC chief Choudhary and demanded his ouster.
Choudhary’s supporters retaliated with counter slogans.