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Congress gets new president

Former minister Ashok Choudhary (43) replaced Mehboob Ali Kaiser as the president of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee on Sunday.

Through a fax to the state party headquarters, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi confirmed that party president Sonia Gandhi had nominated Ashok as the state chief replacing Kaiser.

The former chief had resigned after the 2010 Assembly elections but Kaiser was asked to continue at the post till his successor was nominated.

Ashok Choudhary — the son of Congress veteran Mahavir Choudhary, who represented the Barbigha seat for nine terms — was minister of state for prisons under the Rabri Devi government from 2000 to 2004.

He had won the Barbigha seat in 2000 but lost it to JD(U) leader Gajanand Shahi alias Munna Shahi in 2010.

Party insiders believe that young Dalit leader Ashok’s appointment has the “seal” of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who has been “encouraging” young people, particularly belonging to the marginalised sections of the society, to take up bigger roles in the party.

Ashok hails from the community which chief minister Nitish Kumar has been wooing relentlessly ever since he took over the reigns of Bihar.

Congress insiders also believe that Ashok’s nomination as the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief had also opened the door for the Congress-RJD-LJP alliance because Ashok is known as a leader favouring alliances with Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan.

Ashok profusely thanked the Congress high command for finding him “worthy” of leading the party in Bihar.

“I will take together all the leaders to revive the old glory of the party in the state,” he said.