Former Bihar Congress President Quits Party Ahead Of Lok Sabha Polls


Former Bihar Congress President Quits Party Ahead Of Lok Sabha Polls

Anil Sharma became the 4th ex Bihar Congress president to quit the party. (Representational)

Patna:

In a setback to the Congress in Bihar ahead of Lok Sabha polls, former state president Anil Sharma on Sunday quit the party, claiming that it was stuck in a “disastrous” partnership with the RJD.

Making the announcement at a press conference here, Anil Sharma also voiced disgust over the recent induction, “with much fanfare”, of controversial former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav.

“Today, the party leadership is busy with a rally in Delhi where it is talking of the need to save democracy. Sadly, though, no democracy can be seen in the Congress where even our duly elected national president can take no step without consulting Rahul Gandhi or his close aide KC Venugopal,” alleged Anil Sharma.

Anil Sharma became the fourth former Bihar Congress president to have quit the party in nearly a decade. The latest instance was that of Ashok Chaudhary, who quit the party and joined JD(U) in 2018, a few months after a factional feud caused him to give up the state president’s post.

Earlier, in 2015, Ram Jatan Sinha had quit the Congress and after a brief stint in JD(U), he has been in political wilderness. The year before saw Mehboob Ali Kaiser joining late Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP which helped him enjoy two consecutive terms in Lok Sabha from Khagaria.

However, Anil Sharma insisted he was cut from a different cloth, stating, “I joined Congress in 1985. In nearly four decades, I held organisational posts twice, as state general secretary and then as state president. Never did I lobby for a ticket or a legislative council berth for myself. Nor have I explored possibilities in any other party before quitting the Congress.” About the timing of his step that comes just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, he said, “I have, since my state president days, been critical of the tie-up with RJD which has helped them thrive at our expense. In the eyes of the people, we have only ended up being held guilty of supporting the jungle raj of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi.” Anil Sharma said the last straw came when Pappu Yadav was inducted into the party.

“He was virtually felicitated at the national headquarters. The party is upset that Lalu has thwarted its attempt to give Yadav a ticket. Instead, it should have thought about many better candidates, who are not getting a chance because Congress leadership cannot assert itself before the domineering ally,” he said.

Notably, out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the RJD is contesting 26, leaving nine for Congress and five for three Left parties.

Replying to a question, Anil Sharma said the choice of candidates by the RJD showed “tickets have been put up for sale, without taking into account winnability”, and that possibility of a “tacit understanding” with BJP, as is speculated by a section of the media in the case of Mayawati’s BSP in adjoining Uttar Pradesh, “can certainly not be ruled out”.

Meanwhile, state Congress media cell chairman Rajesh Rathore issued a statement slamming Anil Sharma for trying to make “a cowardly escape” and find “an excuse for falling at the feet of Narendra Modi”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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