Ranchi, June 9: Putting speculation to rest, the Congress high command today appointed Rajmahal MP Thomas Hansda president of the Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC).
The post was lying vacant for about 18 months following former JPCC president Indranath Bhagat’s death in December 2001. Ghatshila MLA Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu was officiating as the acting president of the unit.
The decision to appoint Hansda was taken after the AICC general secretary and the in-charge of Jharkhand affairs, R.K. Dhawan, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi.
Dhawan apprised Sonia of the feedback he got during his visit to Ranchi a week ago. During his visit here, Dhawan had promised that the JPCC would be reconstituted “very soon”.
The issue of new JPCC president was lingering for a long time and the party was facing leadership crisis in the absence of any full-time president. Several leaders were lobbying hard to get the top slot.
The Telegraph had reported on April 15 that Hansda was likely to be the high command’s choice. This is the second time that Thomas Hansda has been made JPCC president. He was given the responsibility to lead the JPCC immediately after the formation of Jharkhand.
Handsa said over phone from Delhi that his priority would be to strengthen the party organisation in the state and see to it that it comes to power in the next Assembly election.
“Besides strengthening the Congress in Jharkhand, my immediate task will be to uproot the inefficient NDA government in the state. The present NDA government in Jharkhand has miserably failed on all fronts. It has divided the society in the name of the locals policy.
“The Congress is in favour of taking all sections of the society with it. The government has also not taken any initiative to hold panchayat elections in the state which is a constitutional obligation for any state,” he said.
On the party’s stand on the domicile policy, the Congress leader said: “We have a balanced approach. The locals should be given priority in class III and IV jobs, but at the same time, the interests of those who have come from outside should also be taken care of.”