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Bihar to get new Congress chief, no change of guard in Himachal Pradesh

Congress legislators from Bihar have urged party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to step in to resolve the leadership crisis in the state.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2017 00:09 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Bihar,Bihar Congress
Rahul Gandhi meet with office bearers & members of All India Fisherman Congress at AICC headquarter in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

Congress legislators from Bihar have urged party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to step in to resolve the leadership crisis in the state, and also take an immediate call on an alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Congress sources did not rule a change of guard in Bihar in view of the growing clamour for removal of state president Ashok Chaudhary, who faces allegations of trying to split the party to “help” Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in terms of enhancing the strength of the ruling Janata Dal (United) in the 243-member assembly.

Nitish dumped the Mahagathbandhan of Congress-RJD-JD(U) in July and formed a coalition government with BJP. Chaudhary, a Dalit face of the Congress and an education minister in the previous government, denied the accusation as “false propaganda”. He blamed a few central leaders for fuelling the rebellion and spreading “lies” about him.

Gandhi summoned all 27 Congress legislators to Delhi for discussion on alliance and the leadership issue. While he met 11 legislators on Wednesday, 10 others interacted with him on Thursday. At this meeting, the legislators argued that if the alliance with RJD was sealed well in advance, the party would be in a better position to bargain for a good number of seats. Any delay in the decision will give enough room to the RJD chief and force the Congress to accept whatever he offers, they told Gandhi.

However, some insisted that the party should go it alone and not become a B-team of the RJD.

While a change of guard in Bihar is imminent, the Congress leadership is unlikely to replace Himachal Pradesh unit president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu despite pressure from CM Virbhadra Singh, who has threatened to not contest the polls. Sources said assembly elections in Himachal were due in November-December and a new appointee will hardly get time to settle. Sukhu, with general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde, met Gandhi on Thursday and handed him a letter signed by district presidents seeking status quo on organisational changes, at least till polls.

Gandhi will visit Maharashtra on Friday and then travel to Jammu on Sunday as part of the Congress delegation that also includes former PM Manmohan Singh, before leaving for the US.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 00:08 IST