Party post first, loyalty later: Those who dumped Congress on losing ranks

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When Ashok Tanwar quit the Congress soon after being ousted as the party chief in Haryana on the eve of Assembly polls, there was a sense of déjà vu in the party. He was not the first congressman to resign and shift loyalty on being stripped of an organizational post. Considered close to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Tanwar headed the party in Haryana for six years after taking over in January 2014. In those six years, the party was wiped out in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in 2014, and the general elections in 2019, besides several local body elections. It failed to open its account in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, losing 10-0 to the BJP.

 

In October 21 assembly polls, the party did marginally better by taking its tally to 31 seats in the 90-member assembly from 17 in the outgoing House. Tanwar was replaced by Kumari Selja on September 4 and within a week he resigned from the party and extended his support to the fledgling Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) of Dushyant Chautala. This was not a first for the party Prior to him, Ashok Chaudhary -- who headed the Congress in Bihar for over four years from April 2013 -- was removed in September 2017 following of a bitter feud between him and the then general secretary in-charge of Bihar CP Joshi. Within months, in March 2018, Chaudhary quit the Congress and joined the ruling Janata Dal (United). His predecessor Mehboob Ali Kaiser had done the same.

 

Appointed Bihar Congress president in June 2010, Kaiser dumped the Congress soon after being removed from the post in 2013. He joined the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Khagaria. He retained the seat in 2019 polls also. There are others who dumped the grand old party for greener pastures on poll-eve. In Andhra Pradesh, former state Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana left the party months after Telangana was carved out of the state in 2014 and joined the YSR Congress Party. He is now a minister in YS Jaganmohan Reddy's cabinet. Similarly in West Bengal, former state Congress chief Manas Bhunia joined the ruling Trinamool Congress in 2016 and became a Rajya Sabha member in 2017.

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