Ousted Bihar Congress president Ashok Choudhary on Wednesday accused AICC general secretary C P Joshi of hatching a “conspiracy” against him and claimed that he was removed “in an insulting manner”. He accused Joshi, the in-charge of Bihar affairs, of hatching the conspiracy to place his “favourite” on the state chief’s chair. “For the past six months, C P Joshi has been feeding misinformation to the high command against me accusing me of trying to split the party,” Choudhary, who is an MLC, alleged.
“I really feel hurt on being removed in an insulting manner. No senior central leader telephoned me to convey the decision. I came to know it through the media,” he claimed.
“Every dog has its day…Today, he (Joshi) proved weightier against me, tomorrow I might be so against him,” he told reporters.
He alleged that “the man responsible for downfall of the Congress in Assam and West Bengal” was now eyeing the same for the party in Bihar and added that he would meet Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to tell him about “Joshi’s acts”.
Choudhary, the son of veteran Dalit leader Mahavir Choudhary and a prominent Dalit leader himself, was the education minister in the Grand Alliance government.
The Congress won 27 seats in the 2015 state assembly poll. The party has six members in the state legislative council, including Choudhary, himself.
Asked about his future course of action, he said, “I’m a committed Congress man and will remain so.”
Choudhary had been accused of trying to split the party in favour of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar JD(U) after disintegration of Grand Alliance. He had, however, dismissed the allegation as “part of the conspiracy to show me the door”.
Meanwhile, Kaukab Quadri, PCC vice-president and a low key leader who was made the interim chief of the party in Bihar by AICC chief Sonia Gandhi after the removal of Choudhary, assumed the post at Sadaquat Ashram on Wednesday.
No prominent leader or legislator could be spotted at the state party headquarters when he was taking charge.
Later, talking to reporters, Quadri said, “Replacement of any person in any post is a normal process in any party.”
Asked about a few Congress legislators expressing reservation against a tie-up with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, he said, “Statements of one or two leaders do not hold much relevance.”
On Choudhary harping on his Dalit background after the ouster, Qadri said, “It is the same party which put him in a high position.”
Choudhary’s ouster drew reactions in his favour from the BJP and the JD(U).
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said, “Removal of a Dalit leader in an insulting manner has not sent a good message among people.”
“This is the reason behind the ‘durgati’ (pitiable condition) of Congress in the country,” Sushil, a senior BJP leader, claimed.
Former chief minister and leader of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Jitan Ram Manjhi also criticised the removal of Choudhary.
JD(U) chief state spokesman Sanjay Singh said, “The Congress had served as B team of Lalu Prasad in the past and intends to play the same role in the state again.”
RJD spokesman Mritunjay Tiwari, however, welcomed Kadri’s appointment.