Cong claims to have defused situation in Bihar unit

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New Delhi, Sep 7: The Congress today claimed to have "defused" the situation in its Bihar unit after several MLAs were reportedly gravitating towards the JD(U) following the disintegration of the Grand Alliance last month. Party vice president Rahul Gandhi met over 20 of the 27 party MLAs over the last two days and sought their individual views on strengthening the party, sources said, denying a rebellion was brewing in the Bihar unit. The sources added that the Congress might initiate some changes in the party soon, though no official confirmation was available. The party vice chief met around 10 MLAs yesterday and is learnt to have met another 10 today. Among them was the CLP leader Sadanand Singh who made some suggestions for strengthening the organisation under the changed circumstances. Congress' state unit chief Ashok Chaudhary, however, did not come to Delhi for the meeting despite being summoned by the party leadership. Chaudhary, in fact, launched a counteroffensive against the party leaders in Delhi without taking any names. "The party MLAs met Rahul Gandhi individually. He sought suggestions from each one of them to strengthen the party in under the changed circumstances," Congress general secretary incharge of Bihar C P Joshi said. He also rejected suggestions about a rebellion in the party, saying it was only a "media creation". A rebellion has been reportedly brewing in the party's Bihar unit ever since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke the grand alliance which included the RJD and the Congress and joined hands with the BJP to form a new government in the state. Sadanand Singh, when contacted, said he met Gandhi and discussed ways to strengthen the party. Sources said the legislators aired their views frankly to Gandhi during their meeting and suggested changes in the party apparatus to fight the JD(U) and the BJP. The sources say that Gandhi had called senior Congress legislators to Delhi in a damage-control exercise to prevent a section of MLAs from deserting the party. Reports from Bihar suggest that a sizeable number of the 27 Congress MLAs in Bihar Assembly were keen on joining hands with Nitish Kumar's JD(U). In Patna, Chaudhary accused "some" AICC leaders of fuelling a rebellion against him with the "false propaganda" that he was making attempts to split the party. "Some AICC leaders are behind the crisis in the Congress in Bihar...they are fuelling rebellion against me by alleging that I'm making attempts to break the party in favour of the JD(U) so they can replace me with their favourite," Chaudhary said. Without identifying anyone, he said, "They would be unmasked very soon.