New Delhi: The sense of unease that prevails among the Congress workers at the state level has now started reaching the party headquarters. A few days ago, women activists from Punjab had staged a protest on the lawns of the 24 Akbar Road headquarters against the Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza. Though Oza dismissed their charges as frivolous, the aggression among the protestors was palpable.

For the last few days, district presidents from Bihar, who have been sacked en masse by the state unit president Ashok Chaudhary with the concurrence of general secretary C P Joshi, have been meeting the functionaries at the party headquarters. Under their pressure, a proposed visit to the state by the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been deferred. They also had an audience with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding a change in the state leadership.

But then Bihar and Punjab are not the only states that are restive about the affairs of the party. The same situation prevails in Maharashtra, Haryana and Assam where the state and central leadership have stubbornly refused to take any corrective action against the established leadership.

In fact, in Maharashtra, the former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan opened a can of worms a day before the state was to go to polls by revealing that his ‘hands were tied’ or else he would jailed three former chief ministers — Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Shinde and Ashok Chavan — for their role in the Adarsh scam.

With the exit polls predicting that the Congress would finish a poor third in both Maharashtra and Haryana, it is expected that those opposed to Chavan, and the now outgoing chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda would become active once again. The party’s central leadership had banked totally on these two leaders to deliver the states.

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