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Congress denies dropping key Bihar leaders from poll list

It follows a news alert, now deleted by AIR, said BPCC chief, CLP leader and an ex-Union Minister were dropped from screening panel due to charges of irregularities

The Congress on Tuesday issued a strong denial that senior leaders from Bihar have been dropped from a panel that is selecting candidates for the coming Assembly polls.

This follows a news alert, now deleted by the All India Radio (AIR), which said Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) chief Madan Jha, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Sadanand Singh and former Union Minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh have been dropped from the party’s screening committee following charges of irregularities.

A prominent newspaper in Patna too had put out the same news on its election page.

“@INCIndia party is in complete denial of the news. It is very unfortunate that, a credible and responsible organization like @airnewsalerts have given out this misguiding information without even verifying with the authorities at AICC”, Avinash Pande, chairman of the Congress Screening Committee, tweeted.

“The leaders mentioned in this post by @airnewsalerts are respectable and active members, who are seriously involved in the proceedings of screening for #BiharElections”, he added.

Notwithstanding the denial, the issue has brought to fore the problems faced by the Congress in announcing its candidates list.

Of the 70 seats it is contesting in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress has managed to declare only 21 seats.

‘Irregularities’ charges

Following the first list that included several new comers from the Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) and the BJP, there were allegations of “irregularities” by party old-timers. There were also objections about certain candidates having serious charges, including crimes against women.

Murmurs of resentment within the State unit of the party grew louder after its central electoral committee (CEC), headed by Sonia Gandhi, postponed its Monday meeting to Wednesday to clear the list for the remaining 49 seats.

“The central leaders knew that if they had announced the names earlier, then there would have been greater scrutiny. That’s why they individually informed the candidates on phone to keep their papers ready but announced the list last minute,”a Bihar Congress leader told The Hindu when the first list came out.

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