'Unfortunate': Anand Sharma on Adhir Chowdhury's retort over ISF alliance tweet
Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Tuesday that his statement about the party's tie-up with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) for West Bengal Assembly election should be seen in the context of history. He also called party colleague Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's remark against him "unfortunate".
"What I've said is an expression of my concerns. Not only that I'm firmly committed to Congress ideology, which is inclusive, democratic and secular, but I’m also one of the historians and ideologue of the party and it has to be taken in that context," Sharma told news agency ANI about his tweet on the alliance.
When asked about the strong words used by Chowdhury against him over the statement, Sharma said, "That is unfortunate. I believe in a civilised political dialogue even if there are differences or ideological issues. I've noted what Adhir babu said but I can't become personal."
In a tweet on Monday, Sharma, the Congress' deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, accused the party’s Bengal president and its leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of diluting its core ideology and the secularism upheld by Gandhi and Nehru.
“Congress’ alliance with parties like ISF and other such forces militates against the core ideology of the party and Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism, which forms the soul of the party. These issues need to be approved by the CWC,” Sharma tweeted.
He also said that Chowdhury's presence at the event when the alliance was announced is painful and shameful, and he must clarify.
Hitting out at Sharma, Chowdhury accused him of "undermining" the party's interest by making remarks "in tune with the BJP's agenda".
"Know ur facts@AnandSharmaINC ji. CPI(M)-led Left Front is leading the secular alliance in West Bengal, of which Congress is an integral part. We are determined to defeat BJP's communal & divisive politics and an autocratic regime," he said in one of the tweets late on Monday night.
The ISF, led by Abbas Siddiqui, a cleric of the shrine of Furfura Sharif in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, joined the CPI(M)-led Left Front on Sunday. Along woth Congress, the 'Sayunkta Morcha' (united front) will take on the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly elections, the first phase of which will begin on March 27.
However, differences over seat-sharing still exist between the ISF and Congress. Addressing a press conference on March 2, Chowdhury said the seat-sharing talks were initially held between his party and the Left but the equations changed after ISF came into the picture.
The ISF is a new political formation, although Siddiqui has been in the news before - usually for his provocative and controversial statements. Though the Left Front has said that it is working with its alliance partners to iron out the differences over seat-sharing, Siddiqui on his speech on Sunday said that he will not appease the Congress.