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Poll tour test for Cong chief

Bhagalpur, Dec. 25: State Congress chief Ashok Kumar Chaudhary left for Jamui from Bhagalpur on Wednesday to assess the party’s work and the challenges that lie ahead.

Out on a tour of the state to take stock of the party’s performance at the grassroots level, Chaudhary had reached the silk city from Munger on Tuesday afternoon. As part of preparations for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he visited the silk weaver-dominated areas of Champanagar and Sabour. The absence of prominent leaders from the district, including Kahalgaon MLA Sadanand Singh and district chief Talib Ansari, hinted at internal problems and the challenges ahead of Chaudhary.

Although he avoided any comment on the absence of individual leaders, Chaudhary remained firm on the performance of party workers ahead of next year’s polls.

“The party is not confined to individuals. Every worker has to work for the party, otherwise we will not hesitate to drive them away,” he said in Bhagalpur on Tuesday night.

He added that active workers would be assigned important jobs.

On questions about a Congress-RJD alliance in 2014, he said: “I am not aware about talks between Congress and RJD leaders. The central leadership has asked us to start preparations for contesting all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.”

He added that the Congress was trying to mobilise secular forces, so an alliance with the JD(U) could not be overruled.

He although accused the Nitish Kumar government of projecting a false dream of special status for Bihar and diverting voters. “During the tenure of the NDA government at the Centre, Rs 7,000 crore was given to Bihar. The UPA government had provided the state Rs 1,37,000 crore for different public welfare projects. An additional Rs 600 crore was given for development work in the Naxalite- hit areas, but the state government has utilised only 59.44 per cent of the amount,” he said.