Ruckus at Bihar Congress office amid visit of new state in-charge

Bhakta Charan Das was escorted out amid scuffles over party performance

Discontent within the Bihar Congress over its dismal performance in last year’s Assembly election spilled over on Tuesday as the party’s new State in-charge Bhakta Charan Das visited the party office in Patna.

A video of a scuffle between party leaders and disgruntled workers at Mr. Das’s meeting has gone viral of social media, capturing scenes of the ruckus amid slogan shouting against him.

The party had convened a meeting of its kisan morcha (farmer’s cell) to discuss the plans to organise a march to the Raj Bhawan on January 15 against three new farm laws.

However, soon after the meeting began, some party leaders started shouting slogans against Mr. Das and party’s dismal electoral performance. Congress won only 19 seats in the 243-member Assembly. The sloganeering soon escalated into physical violence with some farm leaders throwing chairs, leading to pushing and shoving, with Mr. Das caught between the two groups.

The protesting leaders raised slogans and waved banners against Mr. Das, which said “Dalal bhagao, Congress bachao (chase away brokers and save Congress)”.

In the video senior leaders like Congress legislature party leader and Bhagalpur MLA Ajit Sharma are seen trying to pacify the protestors but to little avail. Mr. Das was later escorted out by senior leaders.

“Those who were protesting were outsiders. They were not from party’s farmer’s cell. We’re identifying those who broke party’s discipline and will take action against them,” Mr. Das later told media persons.

However, ruling party BJP took potshot over wrangling between state Congress leaders on Tuesday and party spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “now Congress party has lost all its political relevance in Bihar”.

Earlier on Monday, when Mr. Das had visited the State party headquarters Sadaqat Ashram for the first time, party leaders including Janardan Sharma and Sanjiv Kumar Toni accused senior leaders of partiality in ticket distribution in the Assembly election “which triggered the party’s dismal performance in the poll”.

When some party leaders tried to pacify them, a scuffle took place with Mr. Das watching. The new party chief has said he looks upon Bihar as his “karmbhoomi.” Mr Das was appointed after party leader Shaktisinh Gohil expressed his inability to continue on health grounds.

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