Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday sought to put the house in order in the faction-ridden Bihar unit of the party removing both PCC chief Anil Sharma and AICC in-charge Jagdish Tytler from their posts. Sharma was replaced by AICC secretary and three-term MLA Mehboob Ali Kaiser. Union minister and AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik was given charge of Bihar. Tytler replaced Wasnik as in-charge of Congress Seva Dal.
The Congress high command was said to be in the process of revamping the Haryana unit of the party too. Haryana PCC chief Phool Chand Mullana, a loyalist of CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is set to be removed from the post for his lacklustre performance. The PCC chief had lost from Mulana Assembly constituency in the last election causing embarrassment to the party. A Dalit leader, Mullana has been a vocal supporter of the CM when he was facing flak from the high command for the Mirchpur incident in which two Dalits were burnt alive. Several Dalit MLAs from were learnt to have complained against the PCC chief to the party’s central leadership.
The high command’s move to remove Mullana is being perceived as an attempt to ensure balance of power in the state. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had made an unscheduled visit to Mirchpur keeping both the CM and the PCC chief in dark, were said to have taken a grim view of the state administration’s apathetic attitude towards Dalits and also its accommodating approach to increasingly assertive khap panchayats. While Hooda got a reprieve, sources said that the Central leadership took an adverse view of the PCC chief who was perceived to be pliable. “A strong PCC is needed to keep the administration alert and accountable,” said a Congress leader.
In Bihar, Rahul was said to be instrumental in the appointment of Mehboob Ali Kaiser as PCC chief. Three-term MLA and former state minister, Kaiser’s appointment is seen as a part of the party’s plan to woo the minority community. Appointing Wasnik, a Dalit leader, as state in-charge also signaled the party’s desire to reach out to the Scheduled Castes in Bihar.