For Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, the news from Bihar just got worse. After just about managing to avert a split last week, Bihar Congress may be again heading into the danger zone as there is talk that its state unit chief and CLP leader want to leave the party. According to the Indian Express sources, Bihar Congress state president Ashok Kumar Choudhary could lose his position which could raise the possibility of a split yet again. Several Bihar MLAs have complained to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi about Choudhary and accused him of “being part of any rebel group that had got signatures of 14 MLAs for a merger with JD(U)”. However, he denied all the allegations, as per IE.
Party sources said that CLP leader Sadanand Singh had admitted that he was miffed over not being considered for a ministerial berth as he has been one of longest-serving Congress MLAs. Congress currently has 27 MLAs in the House. It is also learnt that some of the MLAs had got an internal letter seeking a merger with the JD(U). However, five minority MLAs had refused to join the rebels, which kept the defectors’ count limited to 14. To draw the split rebels needed 18 MLAs without activating the anti-defection law, as per the IE report.
“As there would be less than 10 Congress loyalists among 27 MLAs, there are sets of MLAs who see their future with JD (U) and some with the BJP. The rebels’ original plan was to merge with JD (U) but it did not get backing of five Muslim MLAs, something that upset calculations of potential defectors, who are still strategising,” a Congress leader was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
Choudhary, had reportedly met AICC president Sonia Gandhi but he avoided meeting Rahul Gandhi. A Congress MLA has said Ashok Choudhary should have the ‘guts’ to meet Rahul Gandhi to explain his side of the story, the report said.
On September 6, Rahul Gandhi had met party legislators from the state and discussed the political situation there arising out of the collapse of the grand alliance. Sources said that the party legislators aired their views to the leader in the aftermath of the JD(U) joining hands with the BJP, which left the Congress and the RJD out of power, as per PTI.