Rahul to mediate between the feuding party factions in Bihar

By Akhileshwari Anand Raj

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi met with several party MLAs from Bihar on Wednesday to resolve the impending faction feud. This comes amidst reports that at least 14 MLAs are planning to leave the party for Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) after the dissolution of the Grand Alliance. However, out of the 27 MLAs that were summoned, only about 10 met with Rahul. Those who failed to attend the meeting will hold another meeting with Gandhi later this week.

The meeting saw members freely discussing the changed political scenario in the state and had strong opinions on the party’s future course of action. The MLAs are said to have suggested to Rahul that the party should stand alone in Bihar as the alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD does not cater to the long term goals of the party.

Allegations levelled against Choudhary

This meeting comes as damage control by Rahul for the two factions have allegedly arisen in the State. One faction is led by the State unit chief Ashok Choudhary who is in favour of moving to the JD(U). The other side is led by Lok Sabha MP Akhilesh Prasad Singh, one of those who aspire to become the next Bihar Congress president. The Congress has explicitly confirmed that there was an attempt to poach its MLAs, but there was no mention of whether Choudhary was the person behind the split attempt. Choudhary continues to be the state unit chief despite such allegations being levelled against him.

Most of the members that met Rahul on Wednesday are said to owe their allegiance to Choudhary. They are said to have informed Rahul that these allegations against Choudhary are baseless and is merely an attempt by Singh to malign Choudhary.

Rahul’s role in the fall of the Grand Alliance

This initiative was taken by Rahul Gandhi for this feud dates back to when the Grand Alliance was split in late July. The Congress assigned Rahul with the task of mediating the differences that arose then between the JD(U), RJD and the Congress, but he clearly failed to prevent the worst. The state party unit was disappointed with the effort put in by Rahul. He had apparently displayed arrogance and sheer disregard for the counsel of Bihar’s senior leaders. He has previously been alleged of the same in Assam, another state where the Congress lost its government. He made the Bihar Congress president Choudhary wait for three days when the Grand Alliance was on the verge of crumbling.

After meeting with these members on Wednesday, Rahul is scheduled to meet the other faction’s members from Thursday onwards. Taking into account views from both sides, the Congress will arrive at a decision within this week with respect to their Bihar strategy hereinafter.

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