After 2 years, Sonia picks Ashok Choudhary to head Bihar unit

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday appointed Ashok Kumar Choudhary, a 43-year-old Mahadalit leader from Passi community, the new PCC chief of Bihar. He replaces Mehboob Ali Qaiser who had resigned from the post following the party's debacle in the last assembly elections in 2010.

The new appointment bore party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's stamp as Choudhury, a former Youth Congress leader, had been in touch with Rahul for over a year. Choudhary, whose father Mahaveer Choudhury was a nine-term MLA, was a Minister of Home in charge of jails in the RJD-Congress government in Bihar.

His appointment is a clear indication that Rahul is looking for a long-term solution for the party in Bihar. "My first job is to take along all senior leaders of the party and work towards strengthening the party in Bihar. The party has seen good days and bad days. Now is the time take stock of things afresh," said Choudhary. He said all his predecessors had tried to revive the party in their own ways and now the task was given to him.

Though Qaiser had quit as PCC chief after the 2010 Assembly polls, the party was finding it difficult to find a replacement with many hopefuls lobbying for the post in the faction-ridden state unit. Among them were CWC member Shakeel Ahmed, former CLP leader Ashok Ram, former PCC chiefs Anil Sharma and Ramjatan Sinha. Former Youth Congress and NSUI president Prem Chand Mishra's name was also doing the rounds.

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