Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday removed Ashok Choudhary from the post of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief with immediate effect, All India Congress Committee General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said, according to PTI.

This comes amid speculation that a few Congress members, including Choudhary, were engineering a defection to the Janata Dal (United). However, on September 7, Choudhary had accused some Congress leaders of “fuelling a rebellion” against him with “false propaganda”.

“They are fuelling rebellion against me by alleging that I am making attempts to break the party in favour of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) to replace me [as the Bihar Congress] president,” he had told PTI.

Choudhary had also not gone to New Delhi to meet Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi this month because of “personal reasons”. During that meeting, at least 19 Bihar Congress MLAs had urged Gandhi to split from the alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the state.

Political tensions have been high in Bihar since July 26, when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke his Janata Dal (United)’s alliance with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the state and resigned from the post. He later allied with the BJP and was sworn in as the chief minister again.