Bihar Congress MLAs rebuff claims of split in party

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

"But as of now, there is no infighting in the Congress state unit", the leader added.

Incidentally, Ashok Choudhary, who, apart from being the BPCC chief, was Education Minister in Nitish Cabinet until July 26 when Congress and RJD were JD (U)'s alliance partners, was not summoned by Rahul during the Congress vice-president's two-day interaction with Bihar legislators.

Of the 27 Congress MLAs in Bihar, about 6-7 MLAs met Gandhi on Wednesday. He later allied with the BJP and was sworn in as the chief minister again.

The Congress high command appears to have made up its mind to remove Bihar unit chief Ashok Chowdhary on the charge of plotting a split in the legislature party. "I have conveyed the view of the MLAs and the leaders to the Congress president and people in Delhi", as quoted by Indian Express. They said that Lalu kept the Muslim-Yadav constituencies with his party and remained critical of the upper castes as a result of which Congress was not able to make a strong foothold in the state.

Over the past week, both Rahul and his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi have held separate meetings with almost a dozen rebel MLAs of the party's Bihar unit. He believes that if needed, the Congress can ally with the Rashtriya Janata Dal ahead of the 2019 elections to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party. "As of now, the continuance of alliance with RJD would weaken the morale of party workers in the state".

Meanwhile, Chowdhary accused "those sitting in Delhi" of conspiring against him by spreading rumors that he was engineering a split in the party.

"I did not go to Delhi due to personal reasons", he said.

However, on Monday, Nitish indicated that all was not well within the Congress.

A few days ago, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, hoping to avoid a Gujarat-like scenario, met top leaders Ashok Chaudhary and Sadanand Singh.

On the other hand, Nitish Kumar's move has also dealt a blow to the Congress' support base in Bihar.

However denying the rumours of a split in Congress Bihar, the party spokesperson Premchandra Mishra said "JD (U)'s efforts to engineer a split in the party have been futile, they (Chaudhary and Singh) had got the support of 14 MLAs and four MLCs for crossing over to JD (U). They can only say I am splitting the party", Chaudhary said.

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