Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sonia likely to kick off campaign

Sonia likely to kick off campaign

PATNA: AICC president Sonia Gandhi is expected to kick off party's election campaign in Bihar from Gandhi Maidan here. The party has pressed into service all its Morchas and cells to make the rally a historic one.

Though the final dates are yet to be decided, she is likely to visit Patna between August 23 and 25. "After over a decade, the Congress is holding its rally at Gandhi Maidan," said state Congress leader and media in-charge Premchand Mishra.

Union minister and Bihar affairs in-charge Mukul Wasnik, who arrived here on Saturday, visited Gandhi Maidan which the party has booked from August 21 to 25.

The state leaders have plunged into the preparation for the rally and all the district chiefs have been directed to mobilize public support and bring them here. State Congress chief Mehboob Ali Qaiser and CLP leader Ashok Kumar will also tour across the state prior to the rally.

There is speculation that some rebel leaders of the JD(U) and RJD will formally join the Congress in Sonia's presence. The names being discussed in the political circles include that of former state JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lalan, who is also MP from Munger, JD(U) MLC Shambhu Saran Srivastava and former Union minister and RJD leader Devendra Prasad Yadav.

The Congress leaders are, however, not very sure about these joinings. "We know several leaders from other parties are keen to join the Congress, but the party leadership is not in a haste to get them in," said Mishra. He added that after the assembly elections there might be a new equation in the state and the regional parties will not be in a strong position here.

Author: TNN

Source: The Times Of India

Lalu assails Nitish, Congress

Lalu assails Nitish, Congress

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad today accused his arch rival Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the Congress of 'usurping' reins of power in Bihar from his party under a 'larger conspiracy' to weaken the cause of social justice and said people had realised it by now and would force them to 'bite the

"We didn't lose but Nitish and Congress usurped the reins of power from our hand to thrust upon difficulties and miseries on the people under a large conspiracy to weaken the social justice", Prasad said while addressing a gathering on the occasion of JD(U) leader Virendra Kumar Choudhary joining his party.

To buttress his point, Lalu said his framing in 'false and fabricated' cases of multi-crore rupees fodder scam, imposition of President's rule by the Congress in 2005 which saw the worst-ever jail-break in Jehanabad that defamed Bihar at that time vindicated his charge.

Prasad also identified LJP president Ramvilas Paswan's decision to go alone at the hustings in 2005 also contributed to the electoral reverses the RJD had faced. ''But we are happy that Paswan ji is with us'', he said and added that the people of the state had made up their minds to ensure that ''Nitish's alliance and Congress bite the dust.''

Referring to the allegations pertaining to the multi-crore rupees fodder scam, Prasad alleged that the Chief Minister was facing similar charges at present.

"Why is he (Kumar) worried about a CBI probe into the allegations of corruption against him", Prasad asked and said Kumar had now lost confidence.

Author: Press Trust Of India

Source: Hindustan Times

CM is anti-Maithili'

CM is anti-Maithili'

PATNA: The state Congress chairman of its media department Prem Chandra Mishra on Friday dubbed CM Nitish Kumar's interest in Mithila and its cultural icon Vidyapati as phoney.

The CM on the day visited Vidyapati's birth place Bisfi village in Madhubani district. Mishra alleged that the CM, in fact, had no interest in the promotion of Maithili language. He also said that the Nitish government, in 2007, removed Maithili language and literature from the curriculum of Bihar Secondary Examination Board (BSEB), and placed it as an optional subject.

Dubbing the CM as anti-Maithili, Mishra also said that the government removed Maithili language from the BSEB's curriculum, and in its place included Bangla language. This only reflected the prejudice of the CM towards Maithili language, he added.

According to him, after inclusion of Maithili in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, it was included in the curricula of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC). In the situation, it should not have been removed from the curriculum of the BSEB, Mishra said, adding that the Congress was not opposed to Bangla and Urdu languages, but the removal of Maithili from the school curriculum was not justified.

Author: TNN

Source: The Times Of India

Cong revives ‘war room’ to mull Bihar strategy

Cong revives ‘war room’ to mull Bihar strategy

Buoyed by the success in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has revived its “war room” at Gurdwara Rakabganj Road in New Delhi to work out a strategy for the coming Bihar Assembly elections. Besides, it is taking stock of the ground situation in the state.

The Congress managers are confident to check the Mandalite leaders — chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav who are not in a position to win the elections on their own.
The ruling Janata Dal (U) is depending on the BJP despite Mr Kumar distancing from hardliners like the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. But he wants their support to get votes of the upper castes.
Mr Kumar knows that he cannot get votes of Yadavs, Bhumiars. The Congress strategists know very well Mr Kumar’s limitations and his appeal limited to some backward castes.
The Congress “war room” is buzzing with activity again as leaders hold strategy sessions with the aim of replicating the party’s impressive performance in Uttar Pradesh in the last Lok Sabha polls.
Senior leaders including Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Mr Ahmed Patel, Mr Digvijay Singh, Mr Prithviraj Chavan and AICC general secretary in-charge of Bihar Mukul Wasnik have been holding frequent meetings at the “war room” in a ministerial bungalow on Gurdwara Rakabganj Road.
The leaders have been finalising the campaign strategy and the issues to be taken up in the run up to the polls in the state, where the party is out of power for nearly two decades. The party currently has only 10 MLAs in the 234-member Assembly and won two out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in general elections last year.
The technologically well-equipped Centre will serve as a hub of party activities and will also look after the publicity material.
“Nitish Kumar is obviously our main target of attack,” said a party strategist. The Congress plans to expose his duel stand on secularism and claims of a good governance. In the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was unprepared. It was depending on Lalu Prasad Yadav whose RJD was part of the UPA. But his attempt to belittle by offering two seats had changed the situation. The RJD had received a major jolt in the general elections.

Author: Age Correspondent

Source: The Asian Age

Friday, July 30, 2010

JD-U in catch-22 over Lallan

JD-U in catch-22 over Lallan

Caught in a classic catch-22 situation, the JD(U) is searching for answers to deal with party heavyweight and Lok Sabha MP Rajiv Ranjan (Lallan) Singh, who is working behind the doors to provide much needed oxygen to the Congress in Bihar. Further testing nerves of the JD(U), Mr Singh has dared the party to take action against him

and has even made his intent clear to appear on the dais when Congress president Sonia Gandhi visits Bihar. Though acknowledging the fact that Mr Singh has become a loose canon and is spearheading attacks on Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, the JD(U) leadership does not want to expel him on two counts, as it will allow him to continue as a Lok Sabha member and secondly the party does not want to gift the Congress a formidable upper caste leader.
Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Singh revealed that he asked JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav “when would he be expelled” to which he got an answer in negative. “We will not expel you,” Mr Yadav reportedly told Mr Singh. “I am going to share the dais with Mrs Gandhi when she visits Bihar. What will you do then,” Mr Singh reportedly asked Mr Yadav to which he was told that the party would take a call on the matter at that time only.
Representing the Munghyr Lok Sabha seat from Bihar, Mr Singh hails from the land-owning Bhumihar caste, which is up in arms against Mr Nitish Kumar, for having attempted to implement a scheme, which indirectly gives rights to share-croppers (bataidaars) on the land they till. He was also a close confidante of Mr Kumar till he quit the party posts.
Sounding bullish on prospects of the Congress in Bihar, Mr Singh said that the upper caste has conviction that if Mr Kumar returns to power he would implement the “Bataidaairi scheme”. “Nitish has lost the crowd. He has divided castes in the state. People are looking for an alternative and the Congress stands a chance to emerge as the single largest party in the state,” Mr Singh told this newspaper.
Further substantiating his claims, Mr Singh stated that the Congress could weave around an equation of upper castes, Muslims and dalits, which would be an effective foil to vote base of either the JD (U)-BJP combine or RJD-LJP alliance.

Author: Manish Anand

Source: The Asian Age

EC de-recognises RJD as national party

EC de-recognises RJD as national party

NEW DELHI: Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD) has been de-recognised as a national party by the Election Commission, a decision that comes ahead of the assembly polls in Bihar.

Five other parties also lost their recognition as a state party.

EC sources said today that while the parties may retain their symbol, they would lose facilities like utilising public broadcaster like All India Radio and Doordarshan for poll-eve broadcasts and free copies of electoral rolls.

The RJD which is a recognised party in Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur and Nagaland lost its national party recognition following its poor showing in Jharkhand where the party has been derecognised, the sources said.

To get the national party status, a party should be recognised as a state party in at least four states.

Vaiko-led MDMK is among the five parties which lost its state party recognition in Tamil Nadu where assembly polls are due by May next year.

The Election Commission also withdrew recognition to Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Arunachal Congress in some states following their poor poll performance.

The Arunachal Congress lost its state party status in Arunachal Pradesh, PMK in Puducherry and Samajwadi Party in Uttaranchal and Madhya Pradesh. JD(U), a recognised party in Bihar and Jharkhand, lost its recognition in Jharkhand.

However, PMK will continue to be accorded the state party status in Tamil Nadu and Samajwadi Party a similar privilege in Uttar Pradesh.

Trinamool Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which were also served notices earlier, sought more time to present their case, EC sources said.

The Commission had earlier issued notices to these seven parties asking them to explain why their recognition in some states should not be withdrawn as they failed to fulfil EC's conditions for being declared as a State Party.

The notices were served based on their performance in polls to Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assemblies since last year.

The EC conditions for getting recognition include that the total number of valid votes polled by all the candidates of a party at the last Lok Sabha or assembly election should not be less than six per cent of the total votes polled.

Author: PTI

Source: New Indian Express

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Congress hopes to cash in on mismatch in Nitish media blitz and ground realities

Congress hopes to cash in on mismatch in Nitish media blitz and ground realities

NEW DELHI: As Congress looks to mark its presence in the Bihar elections due later this year, it is looking at whether a mismatch between the state government's media campaign and ground realities could make chief minister Nitish Kumar vulnerable to an "India Shining" trap.

With the party having decided that it would go it alone in Bihar without teaming up with the Lalu Prasad-Ramvilas Paswan duo, Congress is taking stock of what could be its line of attack. There is a feeling that the recent media blitz launched by the Bihar government smacks of NDA's ill-fated 2004 India Shining campaign.

While the JD(U)-BJP rule has been undoubtedly an improvement over Lalu raj, the claims made by the government may not be in sync with delivery that has been marked by the usual inefficiencies and corruption, feel senior Congress sources. Also, given Bihar's poor communication links and development backlog, delivery of welfare schemes is a challenge.

By focusing on local grouses, the Congress would hope to deflect attention from a polarising scenario where the choice is between Nitish Kumar's continuation in office or the return of Lalu Prasad and RJD. Though Lalu can count on Yadav and minority support, sections opposed to him remain hostile despite the upper castes' uneasy relations with Kumar.

Congress is trying to bring its organisation up to scratch and is hoping the prospect of contesting all 243 seats will also enthuse the party. This could bring in prospective candidates and offer the party a choice that it really did not have in the 2009 national election. The presence of observers is expected to ensure the party has a better information bank when the election is at hand.

The Congress will also expectedly attack Kumar for being in company of the BJP despite his anger and outrage over the advertisements issued on behalf of the Gujarat government during the recent meeting of the saffron party's national executive in Patna. In doing so, Congress will be echoing the Lalu-Paswan camp and may also want to quietly take credit for the resignation and arrest of close Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah.

Author: TNN

Source: The Times of India

JD(U) rift widens, Lallan Singh quits

JD(U) rift widens, Lallan Singh quits

Patna: The infighting within the Janta Dal (United) grew deeper on Monday with Bihar state unit president Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh, a close confidant of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, stepping down from the post.

Lallan Singh had made it amply clear yesterday that he would quit the party post, in the wake of differences with the CM.

While the two had fallen out some time ago, the souring relationship reached a point of no return in December last year when the JD(U) leadership re-inducted Upendra Kushwaha into the party.

Kushwaha, a former state unit general secretary, had come out in support of former CM Rabri Devi when she attacked Nitish as well as Lallan Singh in the run-up to the General Elections.

Lallan Singh’s resignation comes at a time when the NDA is preparing for the state Assembly Elections to be held in October this year.

The development follows another prominent upper caste Rajput leader of the JD(U), Prabhunath Singh’s scathing attack on Nitish Kumar, accusing him of favouring his own caste, the OBC Kurmis.

Author: Zeenews Bureau (Uncredited)

Source: Zee News

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rahul vs NaMo in Bihar

Rahul vs NaMo in Bihar

Every sixth Bihari is a Muslim. (On the other hand, every eighth Indian is a Muslim according to the 2001 census, though some in the community argue that it is closer to every seventh Indian. In any case, ten per cent of India’s Muslims are in Bihar.) The Bihar Assembly polls will take place in around three months, and as always, whoever has the best caste/community combination will win. Incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to split the Muslim vote by attacking his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi over a minor matter of newspaper ads during the BJP meet in Patna last month. It apparently backfired. The Muslims are now doubly suspicious of Nitish despite his not-inconsiderable achievements of fast-tracking development and improving security; and the upper castes do not look as if they will transfer their votes from the BJP to the JD(U) in constituencies where the latter will fight. Lalu Prasad has gained. After a year of silently suffering the cavalier treatment by his senior UPA partner, he can afford himself a smile. He now has the edge in Bihar.

This has not gone unnoticed by the Congress party which, like Rip Van Winkle, hopes to electorally wake up in Bihar after 20 long years. It is repeatedly said that the Congress cannot ever hope for a parliamentary majority unless it gets substantial numbers of MPs from the Hindi heartland states of UP (80 Lok Sabha seats) and Bihar (40). Bihar, due to Lalu’s dominance for most of the past two decades, seemed a much tougher nut to crack than UP. Rahul Gandhi’s surprising performance in UP in last year’s Lok Sabha elections appears to have given the Congress a ray of hope.

Given the Muslim voter’s importance in the Congress’ traditional electoral strategy, the party not surprisingly last month appointed a relatively young, fresh face as its party chief: Mehboob Ali Kaiser. And then, seeing how Nitish fell flat on his face trying to confuse Muslims by demonising their enemy no. 1, Narendra Modi, the Congress has decided to do one better, and this is perhaps why it aggressively moved the Central Bureau of Investigation against his close associate and Gujarat minister of state for home, Amit Shah. If the CBI summoned Shah, do not assume this is a logical consequence of the investigation of the encounter killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, which has already led to the arrest of an IPS officer (Gujarat claims Sohrabuddin had terrorist links, much like Dawood Ibrahim). If the CBI acted methodically, Ottavio Quattrocchi would be singing arias in Tihar jail. And saying the investigation was ordered by the Supreme Court is besides the fact; the ruling party can turn up or lower the pressure in CBI cases whenever it chooses. The summons is simply intended to show Bihar’s Muslims that the Congress is their enemy’s enemy; so the Congress deserves their votes.

You may wonder whether this strategy is any good, and the best clue is in how Lalu behaves. His core combination of the Yadavs and Muslims in Bihar has been impregnable; you could argue that hubris is what defeated him in the last Assembly elections. His voter-coalition has survived longer than Mulayam Singh’s in UP because unlike Mulayam, Lalu never betrayed his voters by getting into bed with Kalyan Singh, the man who oversaw the 1992 demolition in Ayodhya. If he feels even slightly unsettled by other politicians’ outreach to Muslims, he will react. The fact that he has not and that after a long year in sulk he finally allows himself an occasional smile should tell you how good the Congress’ strategy is.

There are also rumours that the Congress may try to woo back its traditional Dalit voters by announcing that its chief ministerial candidate will be Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. (She can safely be a candidate because the likelihood of the Congress taking the lead in forming a government is remote.) Though she is the late Jagjivan Ram’s daughter and also India’s first woman Speaker, these are credentials that impress only middle-class newspaper readers, not rural Dalits. More importantly, Ram Vilas Paswan is well-entrenched as Bihar’s Dalit leader. This rumour will thus remain a fanciful notion.

The only sure hope for the Congress party is Rahul Gandhi. Indeed, with Nitish scoring a self-goal by bickering with his alliance partner, and with Lalu not participating in the central government (a source of patronage for party workers and constituents), you would think this is the best window of opportunity that Rahul and his party have in Bihar. Strangely, the princeling has of late kept a low profile.

Perhaps it has to do with his 40th birthday last month, when the youth icon holidayed abroad to celebrate his metamorphosis into a middle-aged man. Around that time, The Economist wrote a damaging piece about Rahul and the fact that no one knew about this future prime minister’s policy on anything (although many have guessed that Rahul believes Union home minister P Chidambaram to be “intellectually arrogant”, as Digvijay Singh put it). Rahul’s beliefs are so secret that you would need Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Inception to enter his dream and dig them out. And since then, Rahul has not stirred from Delhi, preferring to meet party colleagues from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu at his home. (It is not known if he accompanied his brother-in-law Robert Vadra to South Africa to watch the World Cup final that was won by Spain, a country that apparently has emotional significance for Rahul.)

Rahul has promised to visit Bihar in late August; his mother will be addressing a rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan a month from now. Somehow that does not seem to measure up to the kind of effort he put into UP where he did the occasional sleep-over at Dalit homes. This is a chance for Rahul to show that his party is on the comeback trail; selecting fresh candidates will help pick up a bunch of seats; and the time to do so is now. If Rahul is just going to attend a couple of functions here and there, the equally returns will be equally meagre.

And if that’s the case, then the contest will be simply Nitish versus Lalu. With three months to go, Nitish has enough time to make up lost ground. In which case, the results will show that Bihar was not just Nitish’s win, but Rahul’s loss. Rahul may try and chalk it up as one of those losses like Gujarat and UP in 2007 that did not matter in the long run. But if the voters see it differently, then the princeling’s plan to become prime minister (and one unfettered by coalition allies) will, to refer back to Inception, remain a dream-within-a-dream.

Author: Aditya Sinha

Source: New Indian Express

Congress gearing up for Bihar polls

Congress gearing up for Bihar polls

NEW DELHI: While its government faces the Opposition heat in Parliament, the Congress seems to be preoccupied with the coming Bihar Assembly polls slated to take place between October and November this year.

Up against formidable forces - high-on-performance Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his predecessor desperate Lalu Prasad bent on retrieving his throne - the Congress is leaving no stones unturned to break into Bihar’s caste conundrum.

Once the ruling party in the state, the Congress is now a marginal presence. It managed to win only nine Assembly and two parliamentary seats in the last two Assembly elections.

But with the ‘young’ general secretary Rahul Gandhi keen on reviving the party’s fortune in the Hindi heartland ‘any which way’, the Congress party is putting its best foot forward to break even in a terrain which has nearly be come alien to its political culture.Realising that it can do little other than vigorously woo the minority voters in the state, the party has sent almost all its Muslim leaders to prepare the ground for Rahul’s road shows that are likely to take place in the second half of August.

One of the party leaders back from camping in Patna for three weeks, however, did not seem too optimistic.

“The general secretary will go, when the need arises and the ground is ready,” he said. In other words, if the going is better than what the party expects, the Rahul-card will be played, not otherwise. The party’s ‘youth icon’, after all, cannot be possibly be exposed to a flop show.

The Congress admittedly has only two options in Bihar to woe the minority community through promises of more Central Government-backed welfare schemes and impress the Dalits by tacitly projecting Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

On the first count, being a late-comer in the election scenario it has to match Bihar Chief Minister’s five years of assiduous wooing of the minority community. Kumar’s record is especially tough to match as he has managed to cosy up to the community despite the BJP being part of his government.

The Congress has also come to realise that the RJD chief Lalu’s once-invincible M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) factor is not entirely broken. The other vote bank which the Congress can hope to tap the upper caste is still largely with the BJP.

The Congress only hope is Nitish Kumar. That he would do a ‘Naveen Patnaik on the BJP’. The Congress game plan, therefore, is to make it really tough for Nitish to continue his alliance with the saffron party. And, for this, Gujarat has to play itself out in Bihar.

Author: Santwana Bhattacharya

Source: New Indian Express

Lallan Singh to join hands with Congress

Lallan Singh to join hands with Congress

NEW DELHI: In a development which gives Congress hopes of revival in Bihar, one more local political heavyweight is pitching his tent in its camp.

The man who led the open revolt against Nitish Kumar from within, former JD(U) state president and Lok Sabha member Rajiv Ranjan, alias, Lallan Singh, has decided to join hands with Congress in the upcoming Bihar assembly polls.

Mr Singh, a prominent Bhumihaar leader and a one-time Nitish Kumar confidant, had quit the top JD(U) post after accusing the CM of being dictatorial.

Mr Singh told ET that he would “go all out with Congress and share the campaign platform” in its fight against the JD(U)-BJP regime”. Asked about his continuance as a JD(U) MP, Mr Singh said: “People of Munghyr have elected me to the Lok Sabha. I have decided to openly join hands with Congress in the assembly elections as per the people’s aspirations for a new beginning in Bihar. Why should I quit the Lok Sabha? I have my plans. Let JD(U) leadership do whatever it wants.”

AICC sources said Mr Singh has been in touch with Congress leaders and modalities of their relations were being worked out. MR Singh confirmed his talks with Congress leadership. Congress sources hinted at more leaders coming along with Mr Singh but he just said “just wait and see.”

Justifying his move, Mr Singh said: “After Bihar’s 20 years’ disastrous experiments with regional parties, it is time a national party provides a positive direction for the state. Congress is that natural alternative in Bihar. And for me the only political option now is to join hands with Congress as people like me will never join BJP, RJD or LJP. It is time to reestablish Congress firmly in Bihar.”

In a reference to the unrest in a section of Bihar’s pro-JD(U)-BJP upper caste support base since Nitish Kumar started nurturing Extreme Backward Castes, non-Paswan ‘Maha Dalit’ block and Backward Muslims and displayed the tenancy plank (batedari Bill), Mr Singh said: “Regional parties and its leaders, be it Nitish Kumar or Lalu Prasad, thrive by creating social tension. Lalu created the backward-forward divide. Now Nitish Kumar, apart from running an inefficient and corrupt government, has created the same social tension in the name of `Batedari’ and other things”.

Bihar has to break off caste-politics and needs a national party like Congress with its inclusive agenda. In any case, all discredited and rejected RJD leaders are now part of JD(U) and are advising Nitish Kumar just the way they had guided Lalu in the past.”

The state Congress is trying to rebound like it did in UP by wooing back Muslims, who are no longer a captive vote-bank for Lalu Prasad, and unhappy ‘upper caste’ population along with other floating social segments. Congress is planning a state-wide campaign from mid-August.

Former JD(U) minister Jamshed Asraf, NCP and JD(S) state presidents Aquil Haider and Shram Kumar Chowdhury and some others joined Congress last week.

Author: C L Manoj, ET Bureau

Source: The Economics Times

Cong gears up to take on NDA

Cong gears up to take on NDA

PATNA: If the NDA has decided to train its guns on the UPA-II led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during electioneering in the coming assembly elections in Bihar, the Congress, as it appears, is unlikely to take the flak lying down. The latter, in fact, has decided to take on the NDA with a vengeance.

For an indication of the same, the state Congress's Manifesto Committee held its meeting here at the party headquarters at Sadaqat Ashram on Wednesdaya and arrived at a consensus regarding the draft manifesto, besides its content and thrust.

As it is, the party would build its turf and pitch around the quantum of developmental money that the UPA-II has pumped into the state, on the one hand. On the other, it would also point to the misutilization of the funds and irregularities indulged in during the implementation phase, indicating that the money sent did not reach the target groups. That apart, the state Congress would also mention the fronts on which the Nitish Kumar government had failed.

The committee held its meeting under chairmanship of former Union minister and senior party leader L P Shahi. Other participants included former minister Baleshwar Ram, former working president of Bihar legislative council Arun Kumar, committee convener Ram Updesh Singh, MLC Jyoti and former MP Manorama Singh, said state Congress spokesman Rajesh Kumar Sinha.

According to him, they also expressed their opinions on issues that could be included to pillory the Nitish government. For the same, they discussed various programmes under which the UPA-II had given money to the state for utilization.

While the next meeting of the committee would be held on August 2, the way it is building its poll plank would certainly not be music to the ears of the NDA constituents.

For its sake, the Nitish-led NDA government has built its central thrust around "vikas" (development) achieved in the last four-and-a-half years. Then, to put the UPA-II on the mat, the NDA constituents __ JD(U) and BJP __ first asked for the special category status for Bihar and now decided to make it a poll issue.

However, the state Congress is gearing up to take on the NDA by its horns. Accordingly, state Congress chief Mehboob Ali Qaiser, after inducting into the party the former BJP candidate from Sikta assembly constituency, Prem Sagar Prasad, said the BPCC had already acquired a dynamism under the leadership of AICC president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

The Times of India

Nitish more corrupt than Lalu, say Cong leaders

Nitish more corrupt than Lalu, say Cong leaders

PATNA: Senior Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary and in-charge of party affairs of Bihar Mukul Wasnik, on Sunday described chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar as more corrupt than former CM and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad at a Milan Samaroh organized by the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC).

The Congress leaders also criticized the BJP for continuing its alliance with the JD(U) even as Nitish humiliated their national-level leaders, including national president Nitin Gadkari, Lal Krishna Advani and Sushma Swaraj, by cancelling the dinner, which he had thrown for them.

Former excise minister Jamshed Ashraf and former MLA and NCP leader Aquil Haider joined the Congress on the occasion. Several others, including four doctors and a Patna High Court advocate, also joined the party.

Wasnik said that in the past 20 years, the equation of politics in Bihar has changed. "The politicians are not doing politics of development. People of the state rejected RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who is known for Chara Ghotala," he said and added that Nitish has left Lalu behind if corrupt practices in the present government is taken into account.

"When the then excise minister Jamshed Ashraf complained to CM about corrupt practices in the department, the CM sacked him," Wasnik said. He also lashed out at the NDA government for spreading canards that the Centre was not providing funds to the state. "Nitish should remember that when he was a Union minister in the NDA regime, the state got only Rs 3,000 crore. The Congress-led UPA government has released Rs 19,000 crore in the past four years to Bihar," Wasnik claimed.

Union minister for minority welfare Salman Khurshid said that he was surprised at CM’s reaction on Union ministers’ frequent visits to Bihar. "Why is the CM afraid of our visit?" he wondered. "If CM Nitish Kumar has carried out development works, he should have invited the Union ministers and showed it to them," Khurshid quipped. He outrightly rejected the CM’s statement that the Centre was not providing funds for madrasas of the state. BPCC president Mehboob Al Quaiser said that the Congress believed in people having clean image.

Ashraf said that he felt like as though he was coming back to his home. He rubbished Nitish government’s growth data. "The state has no industrial unit and people here are talking of growth rate," he said. He also criticized Nitish for not sending any Muslim leader to the Rajya Sabha. "The chief minister instead sent his principal secretary to the Rajya Sabha," he said.

AICC secretary Sagar Raika, AICC minority cell chairman Imran Kidwai and CLP leader Dr Ashok Kumar were prominent among those addressing the function.

Author: Alok Mishra

The Times of India

Jamshed Ashraf, Aquil Haider join Congress

Jamshed Ashraf, Aquil Haider join Congress

Patna,(BiharTimes): Former Excise Minister in the Nitish Kumar government, Jamshed Ashraf, former Congress MLA from Patna Central, Aquil Haider and ex-state president of the Janata Dal (Secular) Shravan Kumar Choudhry on Sunday joined the Congress party. Aquil Haider is also a former head of the state unit of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and brother-in-law of senior NCP leader, Tariq Anwar.

They joined the party at a Milan Samaroh at the Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir, which was attended by the Union minister of Minority Affairs, Salman Khurshid, Bihar incharge of the AICC, Mukul Wasnik and state BPCC president, Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser.

Jamshed Ashraf, who was dismissed by Nitish Kumar on February 18 last blasted the chief minister for introducing a new culture of corruption. The fraudulent withdrawals of Rs 11,412 crore from state treasuries against MNREGA and other Central government schemes only vindicated his stand of rampant corruption in the state administration.

Jamshed was sacked when he wrote a letter to the chief minister urging him to probe over Rs 500 crore scam in the Excise Department.
Wasnik, while welcoming Jamshed Ashraf, Haider and Choudhry to the party, said that they had joined the Congress not to enjoy the benefits of power but to make contributions to the party to make Bihar a developed state.

Countering Nitish’s allegations that the Centre was meting out step-motherly treatment to the state, he said Nitish should tell the people of Bihar that while the NDA government at the Centre had made available Rs 3,000 crore for rural development, the UPA government had provided Rs 19,000 crore on this count.

Elaborating his points further he said that the state government failed to utilise the funds for providing dwellings to 10.98 lakh people living below the poverty line in the state. In the same way, the Centre had provided funds for giving pensions to 1.84 lakh physically challenged persons in the state, but the Nitish government succeeded in providing pension to just 4,000 beneficiaries.

Author: Uncredited

Source: Bihar Times

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee

The Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (Bihar PCC or B.P.C.C) is the unit of the Indian National Congress for the state of Bihar. The head office of the organization is situated in Patna at the historical Sadaquat Ashram. The current President of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee is Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser[1] and the Congress Legislative Party leader in the Bihar Assembly is Dr.Ashok Kumar[2]. Mukul Wasnik is the appointed A.I.C.C in-charge of Bihar.

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History of Congress · Pradesh Congress Committee · All India Congress Committee · Congress Working Committee · Congress President · Central Election Committee · Statewise Election history of Congress Party



Prior to the year 1947 the Bihar unit of the Indian National Congress was at the spearhead of the Indian independence movement. The organization was the home unit of many leaders of the national movement. Post Independence the Congress Party dominated state politics till the 1990s. Over the years the state organization has given three prominent Presidents to the Indian National Congress in Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Jagjivan Ram and Sitaram Kesri. The state unit has also given a large number of Union Ministers to various Congress party led Indian Governments.

List of Chief Ministers of Bihar from the Congress Party

# Name Took Office Left Office
1 Sri Krishna Sinha 2 April 1946 31 January 1961
2 Deep Narayan Singh 1 February 1961 18 February 1961
3 Binodanand Jha 18 February 1961 2 October 1963
4 Krishana Vallabh Sahay 2 October 1963 5 March 1967
5 Satish Prasad Singh 28 January 1968 1 February 1968
6 B. P. Mandal 1 February 1968 2 March 1968
7 Bhola Paswan Shashtri (1st Term) 22 March 1968 29 June 1968
8 Harihar Singh 26 February 1969 22 June 1969
9 Bhola Paswan Shashtri (2nd Term) 22 June 1969 4 July 1969
10 Daroga Prasad Rai 16 February. 1970 22 December 1970
11 Bhola Paswan Shashtri (3rd Term) 2 June 1971 9 January 1972
12 Kedar Pandey 19 March 1972 2 July 1973
13 Abdul Gafoor 2 July 1973 11 April 1975
14 Dr.Jagannath Mishra (1st Term) 11 April 1975 30 April 1977
15 Dr.Jagannath Mishra (2nd Term) 8 June 1980 14 August 1983
16 Chandra Shekhar Singh 14 August 1983 12 March 1985
17 Bindeshwari Dubey 12 March 1985 13 February 1988
18 Bhagwat Jha Azad 14 February 1988 10 March 1989
19 Satyendra Narayan Sinha 11 March 1989 6 December 1989
20 Dr.Jagannath Mishra (3rd Term) 6 December 1989 10 March 1990

List of Deputy Chief Ministers of Bihar from the Congress Party

# Name Took Office Left Office
1 Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha 2 April 1946 05 July 1957

Performance in State Elections

Year General Election Votes Polled Seats Won
1951 1st Assembly 3,951,145 239
1951 1st Lok Sabha 4,573,058 45
1957 2nd Assembly 4,455,425 210
1957 2nd Lok Sabha 4,450,208 41
1962 3rd Assembly 4,075,844 185
1962 3rd Lok Sabha 4,365,148 39
1967 4th Assembly 4,479,460 128
1967 4th Lok Sabha 4,749,813 34
1969 5th Assembly 4,570,413 118
1971 5th Lok Sabha 5,967,512 39
1972 6th Assembly 5,688,002 167
1977 7th Assembly 4,101,522 57
1977 6th Lok Sabha 4,781,142 0
1980 8th Assembly 7,690,225 169
1980 7th Lok Sabha 7,377,583 30
1984 8th Lok Sabha 12,970,432 48
1985 9th Assembly 9,558,562 196
1989 9th Lok Sabha 8,659,832 4
1990 10th Assembly 7,946,635 71
1991 10th Lok Sabha 7,007,304 1
1995 11th Assembly 5,622,952 29
1996 11th Lok Sabha 4,446,053 2
1998 12th Lok Sabha 2,717,204 5
1999 13th Lok Sabha 3,142,603 4
2000 12th Assembly 4,096,467 23
2004 14th Lok Sabha 1,315,935 3
2005 13th Assembly 1,223,835 10
2005 14th Assembly 1,435,449 9
2009 15th Lok Sabha 2,550,785 2

Working Presidents

  • Dr.Sameer Kumar Singh
  • Smt.Vinita Vijay
  • Dr.Madan Mohan Jha
  • Sri.Hari Khalil Ansari
  • Sri.Vijay Kumar Gupta

[edit] Frontal Organizations[4]

Bihar Pradesh Mahila Congress

It is the Bihar chapter of the Mahila Congress. Smt.Sunila Devi is the Acting President of the organization.

Bihar Pradesh Youth Congress

It is the Bihar chapter of the Indian Youth Congress. Tarun Kumar is the President of the Youth Congress in the State.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Seva Dal

It is the Bihar chapter of the Congress Seva Dal. Sri Ajay Kumar Choudhary is the Chairman and Sri Santosh Kumar Srivastava is the Chief Organizer of the Seva Dal in the state.

Bihar Pradesh Congress NSUI

It is the Bihar chapter of the National Students Union of India.Dr.Reashid Fakri is the President of the organization.

Bihar Pradesh Congress INTUC

It is the Bihar chapter of the Indian National Trade Union Congress. Sri.Chandra Prakesh Singh is the Chairman of the Trade Union in the state.

Credit : Wikipedia

Signs in poll-bound Bihar encouraging for it, claims Congress

Signs in poll-bound Bihar encouraging for it, claims Congress

Aiming at becoming a key player in the Bihar assembly elections, Congress today reviewed the report of the party observers on the ground realities there and appeared confident about a good performance, saying the signs in the poll-bound state were "encouraging".

"For the last over a month, the party observers were in the state. Their report is encouraging. We are moving in the right direction," AICC General Secretary in-charge of the state Mukul Wasnik told reporters here.

Around 50 observers for the state were present in the review meeting presided by Wasnik to assess the ground realities and begin the process of selection of candidates.

The observers -- a dozen MPs and five AICC secretaries --were appointed last month, suggesting that the Congress means business this time after being out of power in the state for the last 20 years.

For the faction-ridden Bihar Congress, the observers were appointed from different states to bring neutrality. Among them were ministers and MPs from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana.

Prominent among them were Rajasthan minister Pramod Jain Bhaya, Haryana MP Deepender Hooda, Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra, former Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Alamgir Alam and former Union Minister Rameshwar Oraon.

Asked what would be the election plank of the Congress, Wasnik said the party would highlight the "non-fulfilment" of promises made by the Nitish Kumar government in the state.

"The state government has failed to fulfil its promises. We will highlight this before the people of the state."

To a question on the controversy over posters showing Nitish Kumar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and whether the party would exploit it during the polls, Wasnik said the poster points to the reality.

"The Chief Minister (Kumar) never said that the posters were false. He rubbed salt to the BJP by cancelling the dinner (during the recent BJP national executive meet in Patna). But the BJP is still clinging to him," he said.

Wasnik also termed the posture of Kumar on the poster controversy as "opportunistic".

The AICC General Secretary, also a Union Minister, dismissed suggestions that inflation could be an issue in the poll-bound state.

"During the NDA regime, the price of kerosene was increased from Rs 2 per litre to Rs 9 per litre. We will bring this fact before the people of the state," Wasnik added.

He said the people of the state "are mature enough to understand the propaganda of the BJP and reply in a befitting manner".

Author: PTI

Credit: Daily News And Analysis

Congress hopes Rahul’s ‘medicine’ will revive party in Bihar

Congress hopes Rahul’s ‘medicine’ will revive party in Bihar

The Congress, which has been out of power in Bihar for the last two decades, is going all out to shake up its own moribund organisation in the State ahead of the Assembly elections slated for October-November this year.

Having decided bravely that it will contest alone in a State where it has just nine MLAs (in a 240-strong Assembly) and two MPs (out of the 40 in the State), it is now making up for lost time by parachuting a host of Central Ministers and party functionaries, and planning commemorative functions at every district headquarters on August 9 (Quit India Day) as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.

All these activities, the party hopes, will galvanise workers for the public rally in Patna's historic Gandhi Maidan in August-end, to be addressed by party President Sonia Gandhi.

Not finalised

The Congress, sources said, has not finalised the date, but it has booked the maidan between August 21 to 25. Party general-secretary Rahul Gandhi is also expected to campaign extensively in Bihar, sources said.

For party general-secretary Mukul Wasnik — who was given charge of Bihar in early June, along with Mahboob Ali Qaiser who was appointed Bihar Pradesh Congress chief, thus ending months of slanging match between their predecessors, Jagdish Tytler and Anil Sharma — the last seven weeks have been a period of frenzied activity.

“In areas where the Congress was not taken note of, people are beginning to react,” Mr. Wasnik told TheHindu, adding that “now, even [Chief Minister] Nitish Kumar is beginning to react to us.'

He also stressed that he had told party workers to address the “aspirations of the people at the constituency-level, not make repeated trips to Delhi.” Mr. Wasnik said he hoped that the list of party candidates would be ready by early September. The Screening Committee, headed by general-secretary B.K. Hariprasad, was set up last week.

Apart from activating the party machinery, the Congress' efforts seem to be to focus on Central social welfare schemes, while focussing on corruption in the State, especially as the Patna High Court has recently ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into alleged financial irregularities, a decision the Bihar government has appealed against. The party hopes that in this way it might be able to dent Mr. Kumar's claims of development and good governance.


Mr. Wasnik also stressed that Mr. Kumar's allegations of stepmotherly treatment by the Centre was not borne out by the facts. “Nitishji,” he said, “should tell the people of Bihar that while the NDA [National Democratic Alliance] government at the Centre had made available Rs. 3,000 crore for rural development, the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government provided Rs. 19,000 crore on this front in the last six years.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, the Bihar unit of the Congress got a lift with the former Excise Minister in the Nitish Kumar government, Jamshed Ashraf, joining the party along with the former Janata Dal (Secular) president and the former head of Nationalist Congress Party's Bihar unit. Mr. Ashraf, who was sacked from the State Cabinet and the party in June for raising the issue of the Rs.500-crore scam in the State Excise Department, said, “Nitish Kumar is vying with Lalu Prasad to break the record of corruption in the State.”

Author: Smita Gupta