With the Congress recording its worst performance in last ten years in this assembly election in Bihar, state party chief Mehboob Ali Kaiser has decided to quit his post owning "moral responsibility" for the defeat.
"Being the head of the party's state unit, I have decided to put in my papers owning moral responsibility for the party's performance. I have sought an appointment with the Congress President on Friday. I will submit my resignation to her," Kaiser told PTI from Bihar. He added, "I will continue to work to strengthen the party in Bihar".
Kaiser's decision comes in wake of the Congress winning only four seats in this election, which is five seats less than what it had got last time. The party had won nine and 10 seats respectively in November 2005 and February 2005 assembly elections in the state when it had allied with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party respectively.
It had got 23 seats in the 2000 assembly elections in undivided Bihar, when it had contested alone. Out of this, 12 had gone to Jharkhand after the bifurcation of the state leaving the party's strength in Bihar to 11. This was first time since 1990 that Congress was contesting assembly elections in the state minus any alliance. the Congress was the only party in the election that contested all the 243 seats this time. The poor performance came as a shock for the party, which was hoping to emerge as a "powerful third angle" in the state politics.
Leaders associated with the poll management in the state said that they expected the numbers to be at least more than what was there in the last election. Party leaders were hopeful of winning 15 to 20 seats and putting up a good show in another 20 to 30 seats. Sources in the party said that the results could lead to more changes in party leadership for Bihar. "Party leaders in the state are holding a meeting on November 27 to discuss the elections results. After this, a delegation will go to meet the Congress president and apprise her of the reasons of the defeat. The current lot of leaders need to be changed," a Congress leader from the state said on the condition of anonymity.
It is not clear whether Gandhi would like to effect changes in the party unit immediately after the elections. Kaiser was made Pradesh Congress Committee chief on June 2 this year. Seeking to set its house in order in poll-bound Bihar, Gandhi had then removed the incumbent PCC chief Anil Sharma and AICC in-charge Jagdish Tytler from their posts and brought in Muslim face Kaiser as the new party chief. AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik was made in-charge of the state replacing Tytler, who was given the charge of Congress Seva Dal, a task being handled so far by Wasnik.
The action aimed was at ending the internal feud in the state unit, where Sharma and Tytler had been at loggerheads for several months.