Bihar Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary on Thursday said that some senior leaders in Delhi tasked to handle the state’s affairs were conspiring against him and “spreading rumours” that he was trying to split the party. The accusation — Chaudhary named no one — came a day after a section of Congress MLAs met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and reportedly told him the state chief has little interest in the affairs of the party. There has been a buzz that some Congress MLAs in Bihar, following Chaudhary, may join Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United).
Some party sources said Chaudhary would be replaced soon.
Chaudhary said the rumour of a split engineered by him was an attempt to malign him.
Sources close to Chaudhary said his charge was aimed at C P Joshi, the AICC general secretary in charge of Bihar. They said Joshi had dissuaded him from stepping down as minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
“Senior leaders sitting in Delhi handling Bihar are conspiring against me for the last one year to remove me as PCC president. First, they spoke of a one-man, one-post formula. When I told them I was ready to quit the ministry, they told me to wait till the organisational elections. Now the ministry is not there, they are conspiring against me. What can they do now? They can only say I am splitting the party,” Chaudhary said.
“With the connivance of some people who are not traditional Congressmen… these leaders are conspiring against me,” he said, adding that these leaders were behind the crisis of the party in Bihar.
Chaudhary also said that “MLAs and the rank and file of the party are not comfortable with Lalu Prasad. I have conveyed the view of the MLAs and the leaders to the Congress president and people in Delhi.” Chaudhary did not come to Delhi. “I was not well…I will go in the next couple of days,” he said.
Rahul has met several Congress MLAs individually and many of them, considered critics of Chaudhary, reportedly told him that the Congress organisation had suffered in the last two years. The message was that Chaudhary did not take interest in the party after becoming minister. They also told Rahul that the state Congress had not aggressively attacked Nitish.
“We told him that while the JD(U) and the RJD have focused on organisational building, we couldn’t do anything. We also did not take an aggressive posture after Nitish joined the BJP,” an MLA said on condition of anonymity.