Congress leaders and workers in Bihar want early selection of a political heavyweight to lead the party in the state and take on chief minister Nitish Kumar in the next parliamentary and Assembly elections.
Ten months have passed since the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) passed a unanimous resolution on March 11 last year and authorised the party’s central leadership to anoint the new state chief following incumbent Choudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser’s resignation in the wake of the Congress’s humiliating defeat in the 2010 Assembly elections. However, the Congress leadership is yet to select a leader to guide the party in the state.
Senior state Congress leaders and workers expect their central leadership to appoint the state party president from among big guns like Sasaram MP Meira Kumar (Lok Sabha Speaker), former MP and Nagaland governor Nikhil Kumar and former Union minister Shakeel Ahmad.
“If we have to take the Lok Sabha elections seriously, then we will have to start from the scratch. This needs complete overhaul of the party’s organisational structure in the state. We are desperately lacking leaders in the party’s state unit who can match the charm and charisma of leaders like Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad,” a BPCC functionary told The Telegraph wishing anonymity.
“Leaders like Meira Kumar, Nikhil Kumar and Shakeel Ahmad have clean image and are educated and articulate,” another leader said, adding that they were politically strong because of their ability to connect with people at the grassroots level. “If the Congress in the state is headed by a political heavyweight, it would not only overcome the problem of internal bickering but would also provide it a credible face to take on Nitish’s might,” he said.
An AICC member said the party should not waste time in appointing the Congress’s state chief and launching a campaign against Nitish, “who has started losing ground and people like Lalu and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan are on their toes to seize the opportunity”.
The Congress’s central leadership, sources said a search was on for a fresh and comparatively young face and that too from some upper caste to lead the party in the next general and Assembly polls. Premchandra Mishra, Anil Kumar Sharma and Ashok Choudhary are likely to be the frontrunners.