Here’s why Congress may drop Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as LoP in Lok Sabha

The coordination between Trinamool Congress and the Congress has suffered during Chowdhury’s stint as the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is accused of not including Trinamool Congress in any meeting of opposition parties. (PTI)
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is accused of not including Trinamool Congress in any meeting of opposition parties. (PTI)
Updated on Jul 05, 2021 09:41 AM IST
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As the monsoon session of Parliament is nearing, the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is likely to be replaced. The Member of Parliament from Bengal and state unit chief faced considerable criticism from within his party but the recent Bengal polls has made his position untenable, said party leaders aware of the developments. Here are five other reasons that may lead to his ouster:

1. In his two year-long stint as the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Chowdhury is accused of never holding any meeting of the opposition parties involving the Trinamool Congress. A senior TMC leader said, “Chowdhury would send some other leaders to inform us about the Congress’ stand vis-à-vis bills, plans for dharna or walk out. We never had a meeting together.” Another opposition leader recalled that in the 16th Lok Sabha, when Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia were the floor leader and the chief whip, the opposition coordination was much better.

2. In the run up to the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, Congress leaders including Abhishek Singhvi (MP from Bengal) and state leaders such as Pradip Bhattacharya (former Pradesh Congress Committee or PCC chief) favoured a tie up between the Congress and the Trinamool. But Chowdhury, a bête noire of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, opposed any such plan. According to a top-ranking Trinamool leader, “No offer came from the Congress for a tie up.”

3. On several occasions, Trinamool Congress skipped meetings called by the Congress and vice versa in the current Lok Sabha. The second-largest opposition party in Parliament was not invited at an opposition meeting chaired by Rahul Gandhi in the Congress parliamentary party office. On another occasion, in a protest programme organised by the Congress in front of the Gandhi statue, Trinamool could not be seen. Similarly, protests led by the Trinamool saw little participation of the Congress.

4. Whenever West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a five time former MP, used to come to Parliament, leaders cutting across political lines would pay her a courtesy visit. Chowdhury, however, never turned up or met Banerjee. Trinamool leaders saw it as a sign of personal rivalry. Chowdhury’s office, however, alleged that they sought Banerjee’s appointment “more than a hundred times”, but was never given any time.

5. Trinamool also made no efforts to reach out to Chowdhury alleging he preferred to maintain an elementary equation with the BJP but not with them. “In one of the all-party meetings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Chowdhury as “tiger of Bengal.” It was very unusual,” said a senior Trinamool leader.

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Monday, January 24, 2022