Upper caste gambit in Cong recast

The Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee got a full-time president after over one year as national party chief Rahul Gandhi appointed MLC Madan Mohan Jha to the post.

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 19.09.18
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Madan Mohan Jha at his Patna residence. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna: The Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee got a full-time president after over one year as national party chief Rahul Gandhi appointed MLC Madan Mohan Jha to the post.

Madan Mohan, who was minister of revenue and land reforms in the Grand Alliance government between 2015 and 2017, is the first Brahmin BPCC president after former chief minister Jagannath Mishra around four decades ago. The appointment of Jha comes at a time when the ruling JDU and Opposition RJD have rejected reservation for the poor among the upper castes and the BJP is maintaining an ambivalent stance.

There is a growing belief in the Congress that it has to regain its original core voters - the upper castes, Dalits and Muslims - to return as a ruling force in Bihar. The three groups are believed to have deserted the party in recent times.

Incumbent BPCC president in-charge Kaukab Quadri, Rosera MLA Ashok Kumar, Kharagpur leader Sameer Kumar Singh and Mokama's Shyam Sundar Singh 'Dheeraj' have been made working presidents of the party in Bihar. The appointment of these leaders, which include a Dalit, a Muslim, a Rajput and two Bhumihars, also lends credence to the caste combination theory.

"Madan Mohan's appointment is a reminder of the Congress' ruling era in the state when the Bihar party president would invariably be from the upper castes," a top Congress leader said.

Madan Mohan (62) is a familiar face in the Mithila region and is son of Congress leader Nagendra Jha. "I will take the blessings of old and senior Congressmen and the support of the youth to strengthen the party," he said on Tuesday.

Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Prasad Singh has been appointed chairman of the campaign committee and the AICC has also announced a 23-member working committee and 19-member advisory committee.