Thakur appointed as new J’khand Cong chief; choice of working presidents raises eyebrows

By, Ranchi
Aug 26, 2021 09:45 PM IST

The party also appointed Member of Parliament (MP) Geeta Kora, legislator Bandhu Tirkey, Jaleshwar Mahto and Shahzada Anwar as working presidents of the state unit.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday appointed Rajesh Thakur president of the party’s faction-ridden Jharkhand unit, besides appointing four new working presidents.

Rajesh Thakur (HT FIle)
Rajesh Thakur (HT FIle)

The party also appointed Member of Parliament (MP) Geeta Kora, legislator Bandhu Tirkey, Jaleshwar Mahto and Shahzada Anwar as working presidents of the state unit.

While a majority of party leaders, including ministers and legislators, congratulated the new appointees, a section in the party started raising questions over the choice of working presidents by the central leadership, saying that at least three of the four working presidents joined the party in the past couple of years.

While Geeta Kora, wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda, had joined the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Jaleshwar Mahto, former minister and ex-president of Jharkhand JD(U), joined the party ahead of the 2019 assembly polls and contested unsuccessfully from his traditional seat Baghmara.

Mandar legislator and former minister Bandhu Tirkey joined the Congress after 2019 assembly polls following a split in his party JVM (P) and is facing an anti-defection complaint being heard by the Speaker.

“Though they might be political heavyweights in their own pockets, they are new to the party. There were many deserving candidates, including senior party workers, who were deserving but have been sidelined. Whether they would be able to draw support of the rank and file is very difficult to say, especially when most of the Congress ministers and several legislators are senior to them,” a senior party leader said.

Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Alok Dubey, who was close to the outgoing president Rameshwar Oraon, even questioned the choice of president Rajesh Thakur saying the party should have stuck with a tribal face.

“Rameshwar Oraon was the tribal face of the party under whose leadership party won a historic number of seats in 2019 assembly polls. Will Thakur be able to catch tribal votes for the party?” added Dubey.

Thakur was one of the five working presidents of the party in Jharkhand, besides being the media in charge of the state unit since ahead of the 2019 assembly polls. Before that, he was a state spokesperson.

Another Jharkhand spokesperson M Tauseef backed the new appointments while calling Thakur an “energetic and dynamic party worker.”

“He worked hard both as working president and media in-charge and helped a great deal in building the narrative against the then BJP government. And as far as the tag of outsiders is concerned, those raising such questions now never spoke about it when these people had joined the party and also contested in Lok Sabha and assembly election. They are very much a Congressmen now and have been appointed by the party president,” Tauseef added.


    Vishal Kant works as an Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He tracks developments in Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi government. Vishal has spent about a decade covering the city politics and governance, besides writing on Delhi’s civic issues, urban transport and infrastructure.

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