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Bihar Congress on the verge of split, rebel MLAs likely to join JD(U)

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The rot is running deep in Bihar Congress with more than a dozen MLAs all set to join the JD(U). Sensing that the state unit is on the verge of a split, Congress central leadership has summoned state unit chief and the legislative party leader in the Bihar assembly to New Delhi.

Bihar Congress on the verge of split, rebel MLAs likely to join JD(U)

Out of the 27 Congress MLAs in Bihar, 14 are mulling joining Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and add strength to the JD(U)-BJP coalition in the state. Congress' Bihar unit chief Ashok Choudhary and Legislative Party leader Sadanand Singh met Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday. The central leadership is said to have expressed great concern over failure on party of state leaders to keep their flock together.

The party has six MLCs in addition to its MLAs in the state and now faces a threat of 14 MLAs quitting to join the government. The biggest shock to the Congress came when MLAs wrote to the central leadership that state unit chief Ashok Choudhary

was seeking signatures from MLAs to quit Congress and join the JD(U). After Thursday's meeting, both state leaders claimed that there was no rift in the party unit and that all MLAs will continue to be with the Congress.

Even as efforts are on to woo the rebel MLAs, some are said to have decided to quit the party over the failure of the grand alliance between the JD(U), RJD and Congress. The failure of the alliance has revived the Yadav aggression in the state, putting legislators from other castes in a spot of bother. Incidentally, the anti-defection law cannot apply to the Congress MLAs who choose to jump to the JD(U) if the number reaches two-thirds of current assembly strength of the party. The rebellion will then be considered a split in the party.

While the current JD(U)-BJP coalition is strong on its own, an additional support of more than a dozen MLAs will add strength to the government in the face of attacks by Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav. Refusing to acknowledge the possibility of a split in the party, the Congress has accused the JD(U) of attempting to 'poach its MLAs'.

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