PATNA: A day after criminal-turned-politician Anant Singh campaigned for Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s upcoming rally in Patna, the party’s state unit on Monday decided to deny the independent MLA entry onto the podium of the rally.
The party’s dilemma over Singh’s association with it became pronounced following sharp questions raised by the state’s ruling JD(U) and BJP on the “so-called Gandhian morality of Congress” while Congress ally RJD maintained a studied silence on the issue.
Sources said Shaktisinh Gohil, the AICC in-charge of Congress in Bihar, told senior leaders, including state president Madan Mohan Jha and Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Prasad Singh, that Anant Singh should not share the stage with Rahul Gandhi at the February 3 rally at Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan.
Gohil, however, attacked NDA for its “lopsided high moral ground” on the issue of Anant Singh’s criminal history, saying, “He (Singh) was all fine when he was with NDA for 15 years. He is not convicted of the cases he faces”.
“We did not ask anyone to attend the roadshow in Patna. He (Anant Singh) came on his own because he has high respect for Rahul Gandhi and is keen to save the Constitution of India,” said Gohil about the controversial MLA’s participation in the road show along with Akhilesh Prasad Singh on Sunday.
Sources said Gohil took the decision to keep Anant Singh off the rally podium after being told by several senior Congress leaders that Gandhi might want to leave for New Delhi soon after landing at Patna airport if he learnt that Singh would sit on the rally podium.
RJD, which rebuffed Anant Singh’s bid to join the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led party, is reportedly unhappy about Congress planning to field him from Munger Lok Sabha seat. Singh, a three-term MLA who was with JD(U) in the first two terms, is determined to contest the LS polls and has made it clear that he would contest as an independent if he fails to get the ticket from any party.