Amid fears of a rebellion in its Bihar unit, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today met party legislators from the state and discussed the political situation there arising out of the collapse of the grand alliance.
Sources said that the party legislators aired their views frankly to the leader in the aftermath of the JD(U) joining hands with the BJP, which left the Congress and the RJD out of power. The Congress has 27 MLAs in 243-member Bihar Assembly.
Party general secretary incharge of Bihar Congress C P Joshi said that the MLAs discussed the changed political situation in the state and expressed their views on the party's future course of action.
The sources said Gandhi had invited the Congress MLAs to avoid a split in the party, who were feeling uneasy after losing power in the state.
Less than half of the 27 MLAs of the Congress in Bihar attended today's meet, they claimed. Those conspicuous by their absence included party's CLP leader Sadanand Singh, who stayed away citing some personal reasons.
"I would be meeting Rahul Gandhi tomorrow," he told PTI. He is slated to meet the Congress vice president in another meeting tomorrow.
"I have not gone to Delhi due to some personal reasons," Sadanand Singh, ninth term MLA from Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district, said.
Singh, however, said he had already met AICC president Sonia Gandhi and apprised her of the political situation in Bihar and the views of legislators after break-up of the Grand Alliance of the JD(U), RJD and Congress.
The sources say that Gandhi had called senior Congress legislators to Delhi in a damage-control exercise to prevent a large section of MLAs from deserting the party.
Reports from Bihar suggest that a sizeable number of the 27 Congress MLAs in Bihar Assembly are gravitating towards Nitish Kumar's JD(U) after disintegration of the Grand Alliance last month.
The Congress leaders have been soft in criticising Nitish Kumar after break-up of the alliance. The Nitish Kumar government recently issued eviction notice to Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, his brother Tej Pratap Yadav and other ministers in the erstwhile government from RJD quota, but the bungalow of former Congress ministers Ashok Choudhary and Awdesh Kumar Singh remained untouched despite the change of guard.
The CM has left eight vacancies in his cabinet which many read as a prize for deserting the Congress.
But JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar said his party was never interested in splitting other parties.
"This is their internal meeting with Gandhi. But, it's visible that Congress MLAs are feeling unhappy over Lalu Prasad's leadership," he said.