The cracks in the Congress party in Bihar have widened further after its debacle in the recently concluded assembly election.
Dissension against the top guns in the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) and the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge is growing. They are now being blamed for the party’s poor show after it won only 19 of the 70 seats it contested — eight less than its tally in 2015 — in the 243-member Bihar assembly.
Raj Kumar Sharma, the national coordinator of the All India Kisan Congress, staged a sit-in Sunday at the Sadaqat Ashram, the state headquarters of the Congress, demanding a complete revamp of the BPCC.
His supporters are also baying for the blood of Bihar Congress in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, secretaries in-charge Ajay Kapoor and Birender Singh Rathore, appointed by the AICC for the assembly polls. Also in the firing line are BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha, its campaign committee chairman Akhilesh Singh and Congress legislature party leader Sadanand Singh, all of whom were instrumental in the ticket distribution to candidates.
“I have just two demands. First, remove the nearly one dozen ticket brokers, who sold our party tickets to candidates. Secondly, revamp the Congress and have in its core group grassroots workers and party loyalists for over two decades,” said Sharma, who is leading the revolt.
Sharma minces no words when he says “ticket dalaals” (ticket brokers) in his party “sold” the party symbol to candidates.
“Our leaders who had a say in distribution of tickets surreptitiously worked for the BJP and RSS. They sold tickets at a heavy price and favoured the BJP,” he said.
“There were at least 26 candidates who didn’t get tickets from the constituencies of their choice. For instance, Praveen Kushwaha, who wanted a ticket from Bhagalpur, was made to contest from Patna Sahib assembly constituency in Patna. Gunjan Patel, who wanted to contest from Digha, was given a ticket from Nalanda. Kundan Gupta from Lakhisarai was asked to contest from Harnaut in Nalanda. Sanjeev Kumar Singh was given a ticket from Vaishali when he wanted one from Muzaffarpur. Pappu Singh was given a ticket to contest from Lalganj when he was interested in Aurangabad,” he added.
BPCC president Madan Mohan Jha was not available for comments. He had diverted his calls to a number which was switched off on Sunday evening.
Cong spokesperson Harkhu Jha demanded a complete revamp and said Gohil was responsible for the Congress’ poor show.
“The unrest within the Congress is because of the flawed distribution of tickets and decisions taken by AICC’s Bihar in-charge. The party should change the whole set up of leaders, who are responsible for the debacle of the Congress in Bihar,” he added.
Dissension within the Congress began in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections itself when many candidates who had switched alliance, were given party tickets at the eleventh hour.
Some leaders including Jha had then written to the Congress high command, seeking a revamp to revive the Congress in Bihar. However, it did not pay heed and continued with the same set of persons when the assembly elections were announced.
Peeved at the distribution of tickets, more than a dozen leaders went solo as independents in the assembly election.
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