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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Battered WB Congress waits for Rahul’s Dec visit

Ravik Bhattacharya , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, November 29, 2013
First Published: 12:05 IST(29/11/2013) | Last Updated: 12:10 IST(29/11/2013)

A beleaguered West Bengal Congress is eagerly waiting for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to infuse fresh zeal into the party at a time when leaders are rushing to join Trinamool Congress.

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Gandhi is expected in West Bengal in December and party leaders are waiting for him to rejuvenate the rank and file to take on chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the Saradha scam. Congress leaders are also looking up to Supreme Court where a hearing regarding CBI probe on the chit fund scam is scheduled for December 2.

Congress leaders believe that a CBI probe will unearth the truth. They also believe that senior Trinamool leaders named by rebel Trinamool Congress MP should be grilled.

Congress has failed to hit the streets or reach out to the public regarding the scam despite rebel Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh alleging that the chief minister is involved in the Saradha mess.

“We want a CBI probe. A thorough investigation is a must for the truth to emerge. Now that the chief minister’s integrity has been questioned, there should be a probe,” said Pradip Bhattacharya, president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress.

“It is true that everyday, senior leaders, MLAs and workers are leaving the party and joining Trinamool Congress. We have fared badly in the rural and municipal polls. We are waiting for Gandhi to guide us,” said a senior West Bengal Pradesh Congress leader.

“We are waiting for Gandhi to raise the chit fund scam, which is rocking Bengal. We do not want to miss this rare political opportunity to take on the chief minister. The honesty of the chief minister is in question,” he added.

Gandhi is expected to visit the state by end December after Assembly polls results in dif ferent states come out.

State Congress wants Gandhi to interact with students, youths and other party wings. Leaders also want the Congress vicepresident to sort out organisational problems and thwart leaders from joining Trinamool Congress.

Party leaders believe that Kunal Ghosh’s arrest and thereafter his allegations against top Trinamool Congress leaders including Mamata, is a rare opportunity to hit back at its bitter rival. But so far, apart from a small law violation programme in Kolkata it has failed to reach out to the masses.

Congress workers protest

The dissatisfaction among Congress workers in the face of repeated defections to the Trinamool Congress and the need for a stronger leadership spilled over to a public meeting addressed by Bhattacharya when he cancelled a law violation programme at the request of the police.

The Congress was supposed to hold the law violation programme at Rani Rashmoni Avenue demanding a CBI probe into the Saradha scam.

But police bosses reportedly requested Bhattacharya to cancel the programme and stick to only a public meeting as they could not arrange for adequate buses to carry agitating Congress workers.

As word spread around that the law violation programme was cancelled, disgruntled Congress workers started sloganeering against Bhattacharya and questioned whether listening to the ‘advice’ of police would make the party stronger.

A group of Congress workers tried to break through the barricades as another group tried to hold them back.

Many Congress workers were heard shouting that merely lecturing on the dais would not help but the party needed to be more aggressive to counter the Trinamool Congress and revive its sagging fortunes.


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