New Delhi: Aiming at becoming a key player
in the Bihar assembly elections, Congress today reviewed the
report of the party observers on the ground realities there
and appeared confident about a good performance, saying the
signs in the poll-bound state were "encouraging".
"For the last over a month, the party observers were in
the state. Their report is encouraging. We are moving in the
right direction," AICC General Secretary in-charge of the
state Mukul Wasnik told reporters here.
Around 50 observers for the state were present in the
review meeting presided by Wasnik to assess the ground
realities and begin the process of selection of candidates.
The observers -- a dozen MPs and five AICC secretaries --
were appointed last month, suggesting that the Congress means
business this time after being out of power in the state for
the last 20 years.
For the faction-ridden Bihar Congress, the observers were
appointed from different states to bring neutrality. Among
them were ministers and MPs from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh,
Delhi, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana.
Prominent among them were Rajasthan minister Pramod Jain
Bhaya, Haryana MP Deepender Hooda, Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra,
former Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Alamgir Alam and former
Union Minister Rameshwar Oraon.
Asked what would be the election plank of the Congress,
Wasnik said the party would highlight the "non-fulfilment" of
promises made by the Nitish Kumar government in the state.
"The state government has failed to fulfil its promises.
We will highlight this before the people of the state."
To a question on the controversy over posters showing
Nitish Kumar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and
whether the party would exploit it during the polls, Wasnik
said the poster points to the reality.
"The Chief Minister (Kumar) never said that the posters
were false. He rubbed salt to the BJP by cancelling the dinner
(during the recent BJP national executive meet in Patna). But
the BJP is still clinging to him," he said.
Wasnik also termed the posture of Kumar on the poster
controversy as "opportunistic".
The AICC General Secretary, also a Union Minister,
dismissed suggestions that inflation could be an issue in the
"During the NDA regime, the price of kerosene was
increased from Rs 2 per litre to Rs 9 per litre. We will bring
this fact before the people of the state," Wasnik added.
He said the people of the state "are mature enough to
understand the propaganda of the BJP and reply in a befitting
A senior Congress leader said that Bihar has been divided
into nine zones for poll related purposes and an intensive
exercise is on to improve upon the party`s performance.
In the 2005 assembly elections, the Congress managed to
win only nine seats in the 243-member Bihar House. The figure
now stands at ten after the victory of the party`s candidate
in a bye-election.
Congress has already decided to go it alone in the polls
scheduled to be held in October-November after breaking ties
with Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Janshakti Party in the
2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, the party today said the intervention of the
High Court in the matter pertaining to illegal withdrawal of
money from the state Treasury between 2002 and 2008 and
registration of a case was a serious issue.
"This is a serious issue. This is a matter in which
public money is involved. It is being done under the
supervision of the High Court. The truth should come out,"
party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters.
Asked whether the party would make illegal withdrawal
of money from the Treasury an election issue, Ahmed said that
the matter will be definitely raised during the campaign.
"We will take the issue to the people. It is natural for
us to do so," the spokesman remarked.