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Infighting in Jharkhand Congress: 10 district chiefs support Ajoy Kumar

Jharkhand Congress president Ajoy Kumar has already tendered his resignation, taking ‘moral responsibility’ for the poll debacle. Congress contested seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand as part of the grand opposition alliance but could win only Singhbhum seat.

ranchi Updated: May 30, 2019 14:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
jharkhand congress,jharkhand congress chief ajoy kumar,jharkhand lok sabha polls results
District presidents of Jharkhand Congress addressing a press conference in Ranchi, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (HT Photo )

In a show of strength, 10 of the 24 district presidents of Jharkhand Congress came out in support of state president Ajoy Kumar who has been facing a rebellion from a section of workers for the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Kumar on his part has already tendered his resignation from the party post, taking ‘moral responsibility’ for the poll debacle. Congress contested seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats as part of the grand opposition alliance but could win only Singhbhum seat.

Addressing a press conference at the party state headquarters here, 10 district unit presidents extended their support to Kumar and demanded that party president Rahul Gandhi as well as Kumar should withdraw their resignations even as they slammed the rebel group.

Rahul Gandhi, at a Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday, said he had decided to step down as party president, a post he took over from his mother Sonia Gandhi in December 2017, after the party’s rout in the parliamentary elections. However, several top Congress leaders suggested the Gandhi scion not to step down.

A section of Congress workers staging a dharna for the removal of state Congress President Ajoy Kumar at Congress bhawan in Ranchi, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. ( HT Photo )

Members of the rebel group led by former Ranchi city president Surendra Singh and former state spokesperson Rakesh Singh, both considered close to ex-union minister Subodh Kant Sahai, also did a sit-in protest in the party office pressing for its demand for a new president in the state. Former state unit president and ex-Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Balmuchu has also been critical of Kumar after the election results.

“The party has been strengthened from state to the booth level ever since Kumar took over the reins of the state unit. In Lok Sabha elections, the party won Singhbhum while lost Khunti and Lohardaga by a wafer thin margin. Our state unit presidents have been campaigning extensively in villages across the state ever since he took over,” said Sanjay Pandey, Ranchi city president, flanked by nine other district presidents.

Those in attendance included district presidents of Jamsedhpur, Khunti, Koderma, Palamu, Latehar, Chaibasa, Hazaribag, Gumla, Khunti, Saraikely-Kharsawan and Ranchi. Pandey, leading the group, claimed all other district presidents have also extended support and they could not turn up due to distance and personal engagements.

The supporters of Sahai have blamed Kumar for the party’s performance and alleged he has been ineffective in his post as he was an ‘outsider’.

Pandey, however, said the party has in fact increased its vote share in 2019 Lok Sabha election Ranchi and Hatia assembly segments of Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency as compared to 2014.

“Subodh Kant Sahai has been a former union minister. It’s laughable if he requires support of others. Despite that it was party workers’ hard work that Congress vote share has increased in Ranchi and Hatia assembly seats in 2019 as compared to 2014,” said Pandey.

The district unit presidents said they would also quit if required to press for their demand.

First Published: May 30, 2019 14:37 IST