Patna: In a major reshuffle, the Congress on Tuesday appointed its sitting MLC Madan Mohan Jha as the party’s president in Bihar.
Mr. Jha’s appointment has surprised many in the Congress party as he was not in the race for the top post. Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh who was being seen as the front-runner for the post has been made the chairman of the campaign committee for the 2019 general elections.
Appointment of two upper-caste veteran leaders to the top post is being seen as Congress party’s move to mobilise upper-caste voter base and upset the caste calculations of NDA in the state.
Political analysts are of the opinion that the Congress party is apparently trying to regain its lost vote bank in Bihar. Brahmins and other upper castes were once traditional voters of the Congress party but in the 1990s they switched over to the BJP in Bihar.
“Playing upper caste card will not help the Congress party in Bihar as it has lost its credibility. We are confident that the NDA will win on the maximum number of seats in the 2019 general elections,” said Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey.
The post of state president was lying vacant in Bihar ever since Ashok Chaudhary, a senior Dalit leader was expelled from the party in September last year. His removal had created a sharp division in the state unit.
Over two dozen Congress leaders along with Mr. Chaudhary had joined the JD (U) in March this year the step indicated that the grand old party was crumbling in the state.
After his appointment, Mr. Jha told this newspaper that his “priority will be to strengthen the party’s base at the grass root level”. He, however, downplayed the reports that the Congress party has played Upper caste card by appointing him as the state president.