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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Bihar Congress shifts focus on building party in state, winning back support

The Congress is also wary of further cracks in the grand alliance, which recently suffered a blow when former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) walked out of the coalition.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2019 18:42 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
A section of the leaders, however, foresaw major challenge before the party high command to avert imminent desertions by the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) ahead of the party. (Reuters Photo)
A section of the leaders, however, foresaw major challenge before the party high command to avert imminent desertions by the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) ahead of the party. (Reuters Photo)
         

With Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav incommunicado post the Lok Sabha elections and Sonia Gandhi back in the saddle as interim Congress president, the state Congress leaders are looking to win back its popular mass support ahead of the next year’s assembly elections.

“We are not in any hurry for the coalition in Bihar. First of all, our main objective is to strengthen our roots in the state. A lot of water will flow down the river Ganga before the elections,” said Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) chief Madan Mohan Jha on being asked about the party’s continuance in the RJD-led alliance.

Some senior party leaders felt that the Congress should first unite all its seniors who were forced to keep off from party affairs, and utilise their strength to reinvigorate the organisation before the elections. “A lot of political churning will take place before the final realignment takes shape for the elections. We have much time to decide on the coalition, which is the prerogative of the party high command,” said Jha.

Acknowledging issues in carrying on its alliance with the RJD, a former vice president of the BPCC said that Tejashwi Prasad did not emerge as influential a leader as his father Lalu Prasad in the national election that just went by.

“With Lalu Prasad still languishing in jail… the party needs to work in innovative ways to revive itself. How could the RJD serve better when it could not save its own unit in Jharkhand,” he asked.

The party is also wary of further cracks in the grand alliance, which recently suffered a blow when former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) walked out of the coalition.

A section of the leaders, however, foresaw major challenge before the party high command to avert imminent desertions by the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) ahead of the party. They said that most of the MLAs have already started hobnobbing with the ruling parties like the BJP and the JD(U) to ensure their smooth return to the assembly.

“Besides the three MLAs like Anil Kumar, Purnima Yadav and Manohar Prasad Singh, who were accommodated on the JD(U)’s insistence, a few other legislators might give a jolt to the party, as they were hardly sincere in attending the Congress’ progammes in the past. Instances of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, which saw MLAs’ deserting the party only lay credence to the fear,” said a senior leader Kishore Kumar Jha, adding that the party needs to reorganise and reorient itself to come back in the reckoning.

Currently, the Congress has 26 MLA in the assembly of 243 legislators. One of its MLAs Mohammad Jawed from Purnia has become an MP from Kishanganj, the only seat that the Congress managed to retain in Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls.

First Published: Aug 12, 2019 18:33 IST

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