Speculations of a change of guard in Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) is rife after the All India Congress Committee named former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das as the new in-charge of the state.

Current BPCC president Madan Mohan Jha is reported to have had offered to relinquish the post along with former AICC in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil and his secretaries, Virendra Rathore and Ajay Kapoor, after the party’s poor performance in the recently concluded Assembly elections, which saw its tally reduce to 19 seats, eight less than the number of seats won in the previous Assembly polls.

Former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay, who campaigned intensively in Bihar during the elections, said a new team was needed to rejuvenate the organisation in the politically significant state.

A section of senior party leaders pleaded that an urgent strengthening of the organisation was required through a revamp from the grassroots level.

“The state unit continued to run in an ad-hoc manner after Jha was made the president in September 2018. AICC refused to clear the panel of functionaries of BPCC during Jha’s tenure. However, five working presidents were appointed to assist the president in routine official matters,” said a senior leader.

“The change in BPCC is imminent also because Jha has completed almost three years as its president, an ideal tenure for any leader. Extension is generally granted on this post if achievements are extraordinary,” said another senior leader.

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Senior leaders of the party, most of whom are aspiring for the BPCC chief’s post, have already intensified lobbying with leaders in the AICC. “The change is almost on the cards. The process is believed to have been so confidential that none is able to get any hint,” said a party legislator, adding that BPCC campaign committee chief and Rajya Sabha member, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, is among the top contenders for the post of the state chief.

Kadwa MLA Shakil Ahmad Khan, BPCC working president Samir Kumar Singh, MLC Prem Chandra Mishra, former MLA and state Mahila Congress chief Amita Bhashan, senior leader Kishore Kumar Jha and former BPCC vice president Pravin Kushwaha are also said to be in the race. Some leaders, however, believed that the new president may be named after the visit of Das, which is likely next week.

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Former BPCC chief Anil Sharma on Wednesday urged chief minister Nitish Kumar to recommend names of freedom fighter late Veer Kunwar Singh, former chief minister Shrikrishna Singh, socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan, former deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram and former CM Karpoori Thakur for award of Bharat Ratna in recognition of their ‘outstanding’ contributions during pre and post Independence era.

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