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Sonia Gandhi sacks Bihar Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary amid rumours of split in the party

Amid talks of split in the Bihar Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi removed state unit chief Ashok Chaudhary from his post and dissolved the state Congress committee on Tuesday. The party high command appointed Kaukab Qadri as the acting president of Congress' Bihar unit.

CP Joshi, in-charge of party affairs in the state, told News18 that a full-time Bihar Congress state committee president would be elected with organisational elections in November, until which time Qadri will head the party in Bihar.

 Sonia Gandhi sacks Bihar Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary amid rumours of split in the party

File image of Ashok Chaudhary. News 18

Joshi, however, refused to comment on the change in ranks. When asked about the reason behind the reshuffle in party ranks, barely a month before scheduled elections, he said, "There must have been some reasons behind this. I will not comment further but I have confidence that Qadri will steer the party very well till the next elections."

Before his elevation Qadri was the vice-president of the Congress' Bihar unit. He is considered close to Akhilesh Singh, who belongs to the rival camp of Chaudhary. It was reportedly, the rival camp that had complained to Gandhi about the functioning style of Chaudhary.

Senior Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra and party spokesman VK Thakur welcomed the decision taken by the party high command and hoped the party will strive to gain the lost ground in Bihar under the new leadership to be announced shortly.

Ashok Chaudhary, who was considered close to Nitish Kumar, had allegedly taken signatures of few party legislatures to split the party. However, he could not garner the support of enough MLAs to overcome the anti-defection law. Congress has 27 MLAs in the Bihar assembly.

As soon as the word of an imminent split reached New Delhi, an alert high-command summoned all party MLAs and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held one-on-one meetings with all the legislators. Chaudhary abstained from the interaction, adopting a defiant stance. He also alleged that some senior leaders of the All India Congress Committee were engineering a split in the party and conspiring against him.

Now when a decision of his removal has been taken, Chuadhary might take the final call on leaving the party. When contacted, his office informed that he would announce his next course of action on Wednesday.

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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2017 21:52:18 IST