Bihar PCC Chief, AICC in-charge removed amid reports of feud



New Delhi: Seeking to set its house in order in poll-bound Bihar, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday removed PCC chief Anil Sharma and AICC in-charge Jagdish Tytler from their posts and brought in Muslim face Mehboob Ali Kaiser as the new party chief in the state.

AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik has been made in-charge of the state while Tytler has been given the charge of Congress Seva Dal, a task being handled so far by Wasnik, a party statement said here.

Gandhi's action is aimed at ending the internal feud in the Bihar unit, where Sharma and Tytler had been at loggerheads for the past two months.

The action came close on the heels of about 100-odd PCC office bearers and Executive Committee members offering to quit from party posts. Those who offered their resignation included MLAs, MLCs and former PCC chiefs like Sadanand Singh. Kaiser was among the leaders who sought a change in the state leadership.

In a letter to Gandhi, the office-bearers of the PCC claimed the party was in shambles in the state. They alleged it has been completely hijacked by "rejected people" from RJD, BJP, LJP, JD(U) and that Delhi and Bangalore-based contractors and businessmen were trying to "grab the party".

A copy of the letter was also submitted to Rahul Gandhi.

Earlier too, the state unit found itself in the middle of a controversy over inclusion of caste names in the list of various committees constituted to prepare for polls.

There were also reports of some section demanding that Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, a prominent Dalit face, be made either PCC chief or projected as the party's chief ministerial candidate in the state where Congress is out of power for the past over two decades. Wasnik, who has been made the AICC in-charge of the party is a Dalit.

Congress Legislature Party leader in the state Prakash Ram, former Union Minister Shakeel Ahmed and former PCC chief Sadanand Singh were in the race for the party's top job which finally went to Kaiser.

His appointment comes at a time when the Congress has announced that it will go alone in the upcoming polls after it ended the alliance with Lalu Prasad's RJD during the last Lok Sabha elections.

The dates for the Bihar Assembly elections are likely to be announced before October this year.

The appointment of Kaiser is also apparently aimed at wooing the Muslim vote-bank. The party had got wide support of the community in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Incidentally, Prasad's dominance in the state earlier was also due to his Muslim-Yadav vote combination.

The party recently sent clear signals that it will have no truck with RJD in the Bihar Assembly polls and even decided not to support any of its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections taking place this month.

PTI