Bihar Congress chief Anil Sharma and AICC in-charge Jagdish Tytler have run into trouble as the list of Bihar PCC office bearers has used the names of their caste, including that of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, the permanent invitee to the PCC, said reports.
IBNlive reported that AICC general secretary, who declined to be identified, put the blame on Sharma for the row that shows Congress in bad light. Tytler, under whose signature the list was released, was also not spared by him.
“In releasing the list, norms were not followed. In such cases, the AICC releases the list and not the PCC concerned,” the leader was quoted as saying, hinting that Sharma had violated the laid down process which has generally remained foolproof.
Kumar, in the meanwhile, was quoted as saying: “I belong to a political party. As a Speaker, I believe in strict neutrality of the chair.”
Report said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, when confronted by reporters about the controversy in Rashtrapati Bhavan, washed her hands off the exercise, saying: “I do not know.”
The report said quoting the central leader that political parties followed such exercises using caste names to make sure that proper social balance was achieved, but it was only meant for internal records.
Also, he was quoted as saying that in case of the Lok Sabha Speaker, the PCC has erred in not following the convention as per which a Spaeker is above all such party posts and is supposed to be neutral.
A report from Patna had it that the list was released by Anil Sharma at a press conference there on January six and has been involved in controversies, including on its jumbo size.
Kumar’s caste name – she belongs to the Dalit community – also finds mention against her name in the list of PCC office-bearers and she is among the 64 permanent invitees.
Since Kumar holds a Constitutional office, she cannot hold any party post, while the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act says that any member of the community cannot be called by his or her caste name.
The list specifies the castes of the permanent invitees and 99 special invitees.
The report said that Sharma denied having issued the list with caste names, but said, “We have tried to honour the Lok Sabha Speaker by including her in the list of permanent invitees as per tradition.”
“Even when Sadanand Singh was the Speaker of Bihar Assembly, his name figured in the list of permanent invitees of the BPCC,” he said.
“But I have not issued any list that carries the caste names of the leaders… had that been so, the list of other office-bearers, including vice president, secretaries and general secretaries would also have the caste details,” he said and described it as “a handiwork of forces inimical to me”.