Bihar Congress ‘rebels’ receive setback in number game
Patna,(BiharTimes): Dissidents in the Congress party in Bihar received a setback after the BPCC chief Ashok Chaudhary denied all reports of possible split in the Congress Legislature Party in the state.
Incidentally, the denial came on Thursday after Chaudhary met party chief Sonia Gandhi. Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh also met Sonia on the same day.
Curiously, party insiders said, these two leaders were among those who were thinking in terms of switching over to the JD(U), which is reportedly trying to engineer a split in the CLP in Bihar.
Earlier reports said that the four ministers of the party in the Grand Alliance cabinet are keen to join hands with JD(U). Apart from Chaudhary the three others who served as ministers till July 27 last were Awadesh Singh, Madan Mohan Jha and Abdul Jalil Mastan.
But the greatest problem with the ‘rebels’ is that their number is much less than 18. As the Congress has 27 MLAs, the two-thirds of this figure required to formalize a split is 18.
Even the ‘exaggerated’ figure published in a section of media suggests that maximum 14 MLAs are with the dissident camp. The moment they join JD(U) they would, under Anti-Defection law, lose membership of the House.
Besides Chaudhary the other minister who reportedly showed inclination to switch side is Awadesh Singh. So far M M Jha is concerned it does not matter much whether he goes to JD(U) or not, as he is an MLC––not MLA.
Regarding Abdul Jalil Mastan, another old horse, it is not yet clear whether he is really keen to abandon Congress.
Sources said JD(U) is trying to woo Sadanand Singh, as he too is a seasoned Kurmi leader. He had served as BPCC chief and Speaker of Bihar Assembly too.
Ironically, the denial of any report of rift in the CLP has been made by none else but Chaudhary. It was he who read the message of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at Bhajpa Bhagao, Desh Bachao rally on August 27.
With number not in their side the rebels have at least, for now, decided to put off their activities.
The massive turn-out in the last Sunday’s rally made some of them realize that Lalu Prasad is still a force to reckon with and it would not be wise to cross over to the NDA.