Sex scandal takes toll of Bihar Congress

State Cong chief Ashok Choudhary has admitted that the alleged involvement of party leader Brajesh Pandey in a sex scandal was a major blow to the party, but said it would not impact party functioning in Bihar.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2017 20:07 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Congress,BPCC,Brajesh Pandey
Brajesh Pandey (left) sitting alongside BPCC president Ashok Choudhary. (Facebook page of Ashok Choudhary)

The alleged indulgence of a senior Congress leader, Brajesh Pandey, in a sex racket involving a former minister’s daughter, has taken a toll of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) hierarchy and future plans.

Besides being the convener for the campaign against demonetisation in Bihar as part of the nation-wide protest by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Pandey was heading vital cells of the BPCC, minding organisation and publicity. Pandey was also chairman of the programme implementation committee and protocol by virtue of being a vice president.

“A void has been created in the BPCC after Pandey resigned as the vice president. Pandey was assigned the task of dealing with important operations of the state Congress owing to his proximity to BPCC president and education minister Ashok Choudhary,” said a senior party leader.

Choudhary, who was away in Uttar Pradesh to campaign for party nominees, admitted that the Pandey episode was a major blow, but denied it would impact party functioning in the state.

“Fresh arrangement will be made to offset the damage, which apparently seems to be a part of political design against him,” said Choudhary, insisting on an impartial probe into the episode.

Party insiders said the AICC had rated the BPCC campaign against demonetisation the best because of Pandey’s involvement. “There was huge participation in the march to the RBI and later the Jan Vedna Sammelan attended by senior AICC functionaries, including Bihar in-charge CP Joshi and Manicka Tagore. The programme is still on,” they maintained.

Acknowledging the dent the party suffered in Pandey’s resignation, some top leaders of the state Congress said that he (Pandey) was virtually the second man in the organisation since Choudhary took over as the president in 2013.

“Pandey became the vice president and was vested with the most important responsibilities when the party underwent its first reorganisation in September 2013. He was retained as VP in the next revamp in 2014,” recalled a former general secretary.

Meanwhile, AICC media panellist Prem Chandra Mishra reacted strongly over Union minister Giriraj Singh’s tirade against party chief Rahul Gandhi over Pandey issue and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should first apologise for retaining Nihal Chand as a cabinet minister despite him being chargesheeted by the police in a rape case.

“The BJP has no moral right to sermonise the Congress on ethics. Pandey immediately resigned from all party posts after his name came up in an alleged sex racket. The charge is yet to be tried in a court of law. However, Nihal Chand, who is charged with rape in Rajasthan, is brazenly continuing in the ministry,” said Mishra.

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 20:07 IST