Kharge Praises Chowdhury Amidst TMC-Congress Tensions in West Bengal

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge praises West Bengal unit chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as a 'combative soldier' despite their recent differences over Mamata Banerjee. Tensions rise as Congress offices face vandalism in Kolkata, leading to calls for discipline and reports on anti-party activities.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 20-05-2024 18:59 IST | Created: 20-05-2024 18:59 IST
Kharge Praises Chowdhury Amidst TMC-Congress Tensions in West Bengal
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Days after snubbing him for questioning TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's trustworthiness, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge heaped praise on the party's West Bengal unit chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday, lauding him as a ''ladaku sipahi'' (combative soldier) of the grand old party.

Kharge snubbed Chowdhury, a five-time Lok Sabha MP from Bahrampur in West Bengal, last week for his remarks that Banerjee cannot be trusted and that she might also go with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

''Woh hamarey ladaku sipahi hain (he is our combative solider),'' Kharge said on Monday about Chowdhury, who has only intensified his offensive against Banerjee, the West Bengal chief minister, by alleging that she has used violence to crush the Congress in the state and has been helping the BJP.

Asked if the Congress is making the same mistake with Chowdhury as it had made with Banerjee in 1998, when she quit the party to float her own outfit protesting against its coyness in the face of Left ''atrocities'' on its cadre in West Bengal, Kharge told PTI, ''I do not want to speak about an individual. He (Chowdhury) is a combative soldier of the Congress party and is our leader in West Bengal.'' He said some Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders are now trying to rake up the issue of the Congress's alliance with the Left but it will not work.

''They are trying to present it differently. But it will not happen like this as the Congress party is strong and understands each other. What has happened in West Bengal is that the Congress high command has taken a decision to have a coalition with the Left and we are moving forward with that,'' Kharge said.

The TMC is contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha polls on its own in the state, while the Congress and the Left are jointly fighting the election.

Kharge on Saturday dismissed Chowdhury's criticism of Banerjee while addressing a joint press conference with Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (SP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai.

''Mamata Banerjee is with the (INDI) alliance. She has recently said she will join the government. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will not take the decision. The decision will be taken by me and the high command, and those who do not agree will go out,'' Kharge said in remarks that riled Chowdhury's supporters in Bengal.

Reacting to Kharge's comments, Chowdhury said, ''I cannot speak in favour of someone who wants to finish me and our party in Bengal politically. This is a battle for every Congress worker. I have spoken on their behalf. I do not want the state Congress to be used for her (Banerjee's) personal agenda.'' After Kharge's remarks, several posters and hoardings of the Congress president were defaced with ink in front of the state Congress headquarters in Kolkata on Sunday.

The Congress has issued a stern warning to those indulging in anti-party activities in West Bengal and asked its state unit to submit a report on the hoardings vandalised outside the party office in Kolkata.

Taking serious note of such acts, AICC general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal has said the party would not tolerate such ''gross indiscipline''.

''We are taking very serious note of such grave anti-party activities. The Indian National Congress shall not tolerate such public display of defiance and indiscipline. The general secretary in-charge of West Bengal is directed to immediately submit a factual report on these acts of gross indiscipline,'' Venugopal said in a statement.

He said it has been brought to the party high command's notice that a few office-bearers and workers of the party have made certain uncharitable remarks against Kharge in the media as well as on social media.

''Acts of vandalising hoardings outside the WBPCC office have also been carried out by certain miscreants. This has hurt the sentiments of millions of party workers and supporters,'' Venugopal said.

Unidentified people also wrote ''agent of Trinamool Congress'' on Kharge's posters and hoardings in Kolkata.

Chowdhury has expressed displeasure over the incident and asked party workers to get a police complaint lodged.

Banerjee, who had initially said she will extend outside support to the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) of opposition parties if it comes to power, has subsequently said she is very much part of the anti-BJP coalition at the national level and would form the next government at the Centre with it.

However, the West Bengal chief minister has also alleged that the state units of both the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Congress, who are part of the alliance, have joined hands and helped the BJP in the state.

The TMC walked out of the INDIA bloc in West Bengal in January.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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