In balancing act, Congress warns Bengal unit, then Kharge praises Adhir Ranjan | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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In balancing act, Congress warns Bengal unit, then Kharge praises Adhir Ranjan

May 20, 2024 06:03 PM IST

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tueday described Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as “a combative soldier of the Congress party”

NEW DELHI: A day after party president Mallikarjun Kharge’s posters outside the Bengal Congress office in Kolkata were defaced, the Congress leadership in Delhi on Monday sought a factual report on the vandalisation of the posters and statements made against Kharge in the state.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has been a long-time critic of the party allying with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress at any level (PTI)
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has been a long-time critic of the party allying with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress at any level (PTI)

“We are taking a very serious note of such grave anti-party activities. the Indian National Congress shall not tolerate such public display of defiance and indiscipline,” a statement by Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal said, citing the vandalisation of the posters and “uncharitable remarks” made in the media and on social media against party chief Kharge.

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The statement added that the party general secretary in charge of the West Bengal unit has been told to immediately submit a “factual report of these acts of gross indiscipline”.

Hours before the statement was issued in Delhi, the West Bengal Congress said it “strongly condemned” the defacement of the posters.

“A written complaint has also been duly informed by the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee yesterday (19/05/24) at Entally Police Station demanding a thorough investigation into this scandalous incident and the arrest of the real criminals involved in this,” the state unit said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter. It added that a protest will be held against “this abominable incident” on Tuesday.

Several posters and hoardings of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge were defaced with ink in front of the party’s state headquarters on Sunday by unidentified people who also called the party chief an “agent of Trinamool Congress”.

The incident took a day after Kharge on Saturday snubbed Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who had previously claimed that TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s loyalty to the Opposition’s INDIA bloc could not be trusted and that she might go with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In Bengal, the Congress is in an alliance with the Left but the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is a constituent of the INDIA Opposition bloc.

“Mamata Banerjee is with the (INDIA) alliance. She has recently said that 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 don’t agree will go out,” Kharge said on Saturday.

Reacting to Kharge’s statement, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who has been a long-time critic of the Congress’s decision to ally with the TMC. said he could not speak in favour of the TMC which had destroyed the Congress in the state.

”This is a battle for every Congress worker. I have spoken on their behalf. I don’t want the state Congress to be used for Banerjee’s personal agenda and then finish the organisation. If Kharge ji speaks against my views, I will continue to speak for Congressmen at the grassroots in the state,” said Chowdhury.

But as the party delivered a sharp warning to state Congress leaders uncomfortable with the arrangement with TMC, Kharge also softened the blow on Monday.

Asked if the Congress was making the same mistake with Chowdhury as it had made with Mamata Banerjee in 1998 when she had quit Congress to set up TMC over the party’s soft approach to the Left, Kharge told news agency PTI, “I do not want to speak about an individual. He is a combative soldier of the Congress party and is our leader in West Bengal”. Kharge added some TMC leaders were now trying to rake up the issue of the Congress alliance with the Left but that will not help.

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