A group of Bihar Congress workers on Tuesday hurled chairs, shoved each other and raised slogans against a senior state unit leader during a meeting attended by the party's newly appointed in-charge Bhakta Charan Das. The noisy scene was witnessed at the Congress state headquarters 'Sadaquat Ashram' here where a meeting of the farmers cell of the state unit of the party was held.
The meet was marred by violent protests when a section of the state unit's farmers cell objected to state working president Shyam Sunder Singh Dhiraj moderating the function organised by the party's kisan wing. Das, who was on his maiden visit to Bihar after taking up the assignment, however, termed the troublemakers as "outsiders" who wanted to disturb the meeting in which Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha, Congress Legislature Larty leader Ajit Sharma, Dhiraj and other senior leaders were present.
A section of party workers led by Raj Kumar Sharma, claiming to be the in-charge of Bihar Congress farmers' cell, objected to Dhiraj moderating the function. Sharma alleged that Dhiraj wanted to control the farmers' cell and did not allow him to speak on the occasion.
He also claimed that supporters of Dhiraj pushed him and tore his clothes. This led to shouting of slogans, hurling of chairs and pushing and shoving among the party workers present there.
The party's Bihar in-charge later told reporters that the troublemakers were outsiders and had nothing to do with the Congress. "Some people wanted to disturb the farmers' cell meeting. They were not Congress workers. They entered the venue and wanted to speak. We got them removed from the meeting," said Das, a former union minister who is on a three-day visit to the state.
The ruckus followed another such incident that took place before Das during a meeting also held at Sadaqat Ashram held on Monday. Video clips of that meeting have gone viral on the social media in which local leaders can be seen hurling abuses and raising accusatory fingers at each other.
Das has taken over the charge of the state from senior leader Shaktisinh Gohil. The Congress performed miserably in the recent assembly elections in which it fought 70 seats but won only 19, causing its allies to accuse it of being the weak link in the Grand Alliance which gave a tough fight to the ruling NDA.
Das, who hails from neighbouring Odisha, admitted that the party was in a "kamjor" (weak) position in the state and said his efforts would be to strengthen it. He said he wuld start a commissionary-wise tour from January 31 in a bid to once again make the party the voice of poor, unemployed and deprived sections of the society.
Following the incident during the day, key constituents of the ruling NDA the BJP and the JD(U) - took a swipe at the Congress claiming that the party does not have any culture. "The Congress does not exist on the ground, it has confined to a party on paper only. The incident at Sadaqat Ashram shows that it has neither any policy nor any system, nor culture," Bihar BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said.
JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said, "The chaos, nuisance and resentment in the state unit were evident before the Congress in-charge. It is certain that tough days lie ahead for the party and it has no plan of action to deal with the problem."