PATNA: With Congress in Bihar planning to nominate senior leader Akhilesh Singh to Rajya Sabha, JD(U) leader and former state Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary on Sunday sent ripples by saying Singh’s nomination will cause a split among Congress MLAs.
Chaudhary, who had quit Congress and joined the JD(U) along with three other Congress MLCs on March 1, said: “It will be unfortunate if Congress nominates Akhilesh Singh for the Upper House. That will mean that Congress is sitting in the lap of RJD and Lalu Prasad Yadav”.
Akhilesh Singh, a former Union minister, is widely seen as loyal to the jailed RJD chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav. When Chaudhary was state Congress president for four years till September 2017, the two main factions in the party were led by him and Singh.
“Several Congress MLAs are in touch with us. Let them (Congress) announce its candidate,” said Chaudhary. Congress has 27 MLAs in Bihar. Since the votes of 35 MLAs are needed to get a member of Rajya Sabha elected, it has the support of RJD legislators. But Chaudhary’s claims sent jitters through the grand old party.
On Sunday, Congress suffered a fresh round of erosion as its state unit’s sports wing chief and the presidents of 11 district sports wings joined JD(U) in presence of Chaudhary.
As many as 17 Congress leaders owing allegiance to Ashok Chaudhary had joined JD(U) on March 4. Chaudhary had himself formally administered membership of JD(U) to those leaders, saying his aim was to strengthen “Nitish Kumar’s hands”.