The Telegraph
Thursday , February 21 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong leaders eye state unit rejig

New Delhi, Feb. 20: The Congress outfit in Jharkhand may soon witness major changes, though party vice-president Rahul Gandhi is believed to be not keen on removing Pradeep Balmuchu from the post of the state unit president.

According to sources in New Delhi, Rahul Gandhi has shown interest in re-organising the party in Jharkhand and was eager to bring in fresh blood in the state working committee.

Many leaders are also lobbying hard with veterans in the capital, pitching for the post of state party chief.

Senior Congressmen declined comment, but confirmed that many state satraps had been camping in the national capital to draw the attention of the high command.

According to sources, apart from former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay, among state Congress leaders who were vying for the high command’s decision in their favour were Manju Hembrom, Rameshwar Oraon, Gitashree Oraon, Sukhdeo Bhagat and Furkan Ansari.

The race for the post, said sources, had been fuelled by political developments in the last two to three weeks.

“It was being anticipated that after Sahay was dropped from the Union cabinet, Balmuchu will be inducted as a representative from Jharkhand, while Sahay will take over his responsibility in Jharkhand. However, as the party high command decided not to elevate Balmuchu for a ministerial role at the Centre during the last reshuffle in October, believing it will add to infighting in the state, it is now being hinted that Sahay might not get the post,” said a Congress leader.

The leader, who looks after party affairs in the state, added that ss President’s Rule in Jharkhand stretched, anxiety among Congress leaders was also increasing.

“Most party leaders were earlier assuming that Sahay would be made the JPCC chief. But they now know that the high command is not very keen on him and therefore, more contenders have thrown their hats into the ring.”

At least five JPCC members have been camping in the capital for the past one week, exploring the possibility to get Rahul’s attention.

Sources, meanwhile, said that during his last interaction with PCC chiefs, Rahul had promised to get the state working committee — suspended last year — functional early.