After a wait of almost one year, the Bihar Congress got a full-time president. AICC chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday appointed 62-year old Madan Mohan Jha as the new president of the PCC. A notification was also issued for nomination of four working presidents and members of the working committee and the advisory committee. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, who was a claimant for the post of president, has been appointed chairman of the election campaign committee.

Jha’s nomination came as a surprise among the Congress rank and file here since nobody ever speculated about his elevation. He also did not make rounds of AICC headquarters like some other leaders who wanted to grab this position. Jha, a former Minister, is said to be a non-controversial figure who likes to stay away from media glare. His father Nagendra Jha was also a Minister.

The appointment of a Brahmin is seen as Congress’ attempt to win back the support and confidence of the upper castes as the party’s bid to nominate backward castes or dalits as party chief did not yield much result. It is after a gap of a dozen years that a leader from the upper caste has been given this office. The last Brahmin to hold this office was Dr Jagannath Mishra. Anil Sharma, a Bhumihar, was PCC chief for a brief period in early 2000.

Kaukab Quadri, who served as caretaker president for about one year was also claimant for the post. Ashok Choudhary served as PCC president for a long time and demitted the office last year after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar severed ties with grand alliance. Choudhary was a Minister in Nitish Cabinet and he did not only quit the party chief’s post but also resigned from the Congress and joined the JD(U) amid speculations that he might be appointed president of Bihar unit of JD(U) in view of his closeness to Nitish. Quadri is among the four working presidents as others are Ashok Kumar, Sameer Kumar Singh and Shyam Sundar Dhiraj.

The 23-member state working committee has, among others, Amita Bhushan, Shakil Khan, Prem Chandra Mishra, Brajesh Pandey, Md Jawed and Kirpanath Pathak. The 19 member advisory committee has Meira Kumar, Sadanand Singh, Shakeel Ahmad, Nikhil Kumar, K K Tewari, Jyoti, Asrarul Haq, Ranjeet Ranjan and others.