Ignoring senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee’s warning of stern action against leaders working against the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance for the West Bengal polls, Congress MP from Baharampur, Adhir Chowdhury, started campaigning for independent candidates on Thursday.
Chowdhury’s defiance follows his threat that he would not abide by the seat division between the two allies. He made his belligerent stand clear after Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee allotted 65 constituencies for the Congress out of 294 assembly seats.
Chowdhury, the Murshidabad district Congress president, is backing four independent candidates in the district, which has 22 constituencies.
Banerjee has left 18 of the 22 constituencies for the Congress in the district, which is known as a traditional belt of the Congress.
Justifying his actions, Chowdhury said, “I do not stab anybody in the back. I have openly said that since Trinamool has fielded four candidates, I would not campaign for them. But Trinamool is fielding independent candidates against Congress in several parts of this district and it does not have the guts to admit it.”
“The party high command may cancel my parliament membership or award capital punishment for supporting independent candidates. But I will not change my decision,” Chowdhury said.
Union finance minister Mukherjee had told mediapersons in March that if any Congress leader contested as an independent, he/she would be removed from the party for six years.
He had also warned that those who would not contest themselves but stoke anti-alliance fire would face severe punishment. Meanwhile, Chowdhury’s stand has not gone down well with the Trinamool leaders. Sagir Hossain, working president of district Trinamool Congress and the Bhagabangola candidate said, “People can understand who is actually helping the CPI(M). I am the alliance candidate. This activity of Adhir may help the Left Front.”