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Sonia snub for Cong faction

Ranchi/New Delhi, July 7: A week-long camp of disgruntled state Congress leaders has come to an end with the central leadership refusing to pay any heed to their plea for a leadership change in the Jharkhand unit.

The faction, led by Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, was camping in Delhi to seek audience with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and demand removal of Sukhdeo Bhagat.

However, none of the central leaders, including Sonia, entertained their request for a meeting.

Former MP Subodh Kant Sahay, Rajya Sabha MP Dhiraj Kumar Sahu, state minister Mannan Mallick, senior leaders Furkan Ansari and Rameshwar Oraon are part of the faction that is holding Bhagat responsible for party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls.

The high command had summoned state party leaders, including Bhagat and Balmuchu, last week to discuss changes in the organisation for the Assembly elections.

Insiders revealed that the high command asked Bhagat to make key organisational appointments without any delay, while rejecting the demand of the Balmuchu-led faction for a change of guard in the state unit. “They were told that any leadership change at this stage would not be practical,” said a senior party leader.

Speaking over telephone, Balmuchu said, “We wanted to meet Soniaji to share our concerns about the party organisation in Jharkhand. She is reported to be ill, so we could not meet her. Once she resumes work, we will meet her.”

Former Ranchi MP Sahay said, “Bhagat has failed to head the party and direct the coalition government in the desired direction. If the situation continues, the Congress will meet a similar fate in the Assembly elections,” he said.

Sources said the bone of contention was something else. Sahay, Ansari and Oraon have lost the Lok Sabha polls and are desperate to get party tickets for the Assembly polls. But a section of the party, led by Bhagat, is not willing to repeat the defeated faces in the coming elections.


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