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Cong whip for dissidents

Ranchi, April 29: The Congress today “expelled” around a dozen leaders and showcaused some others for anti-party activities, even as internal bickering continued to bother the state unit in the election aftermath.

The party’s disciplinary committee, which held its first post-polls meeting in Ranchi, slapped a six-year ban on former Congress leaders Chandra Shekhar Dubey, Stephen Marandi and Niel Tirkey, rejecting any possibility of their return to the party.

Dubey, Marandi and Tirkey joined the Trinamul Congress, JVM and the Ajsu, respectively, before the polls.

The party also shut the door on Israel Ansari, K.S. Chatterjee, Shashikant Tirkey, Mrityunjay Sharma, Klemensia Hembrom, Devashish Roy, Rajesh Mandal, Nitima Bari Bodra and Pradeep Keshri, who already deserted the party.

This apart, the disciplinary committee suspended state Congress working committee member Roshan Lal Bhatia for his anti-party statement after the first round of polling in Jharkhand. Bhatia was asked to show cause for his prediction that the Congress would lose the three — Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga — of the four seats it contested in the first round. In Palamau, the fourth seat that voted on April 10, the party supported the RJD candidate.

“Those, who worked against the party in this election, will not be spared,” state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat, who chaired the meeting, told The Telegraph.

Tilakdhari Singh, chairman of the committee, Geetashree Oraon, Radha Krishna Kishore and Ashok Choudhary — all members of the committee — were present.

Bhagat added all district unit presidents had been asked to report any incident of back-stabbing by party worker or leader during the polls.

Insiders said some seniors like, Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu and associates, allegedly worked against the Congress candidates in Ranchi, Khunti, Hazaribagh and Singhbhum.

The state Congress’s extended working committee is expected to meet on May 4 in the state capital. With different factions playing blame-game over poor poll management, the meeting is likely to be a stormy affair.

One of the disgruntled leaders was the party’s Godda candidate Furkan Ansari, who alleged Bhagat did not display leadership quality during campaigns. “He (Bhagat) was acting a bit slow during the campaigns,” Furkan told The Telegraph.

Two top functionaries of the party’s media cell, Shailesh Sinha and spokesperson Gulfam Muzibi, submitted their resignation. Sources said they took the step after the cell’s performance during the polls was found to be poor.