Manas Bhuniya: Why I quit Congress after 46 years
In 1966, Ajoy Mukherjee was insulted and driven out from Congress. In 1997, Mamata Banerjee, who stood against Congress leaders soft on the Left, was forced to quit. Now, I share the same fate.kolkata Updated: Sep 19, 2016 16:03 IST
Former Bengal Congress president and leader Manas Bhuniya spoke to Hindustan Times minutes before joining Trinamool Congress, which is the biggest jolt to the state unit of India’s oldest party.
Why are you leaving Congress? Are you looking for a cabinet berth?
Answer: I am not leaving Congress but joining the real Congress in Bengal under Mamata Banerjee. I will do whatever she asks me. I want to serve the people working under the Bengal chief minister. Mamata Banerjee is the real image of secularism fighting with saffron brigade at one hand and CPIM on the other. Mamata Banerjee will soon lead national politics. In 1966 Ajoy Mukherjee was insulted and driven out. In 1997 Mamata Banerjee who protested against Left tainted Congress leaders was insulted and driven out and now I shared the same fate.
Who are the people who drove you out?
Answer: A section of present leaders including Adhir Choudhury (state president) and Abdul Mannan (leader of the opposition at assembly), apart from C P Joshi (AICC general secretary) all conspired to insult me and drive me out. C P Joshi destroyed Congress in Assam. He was sent by high command for Bihar polls where we got a drubbing. He destroyed Congress in Arunachal Pradesh. He is now bent on destroying Congress in Bengal. Joshi misled the party high command on leaders like me and gave the wrong picture about Bengal Congress.
What about your ideology and the ideology of Congress?
Answer: Now Bengal Congress which is ideologically bankrupt is run by Alimuddin street (CPIM headquarters in Kolkata). The present Bengal Congress is being led a by a section of leaders who have sold the party at the hands of the CPIM. I was the one who protested against joining hands with CPIM in from of Rahul Gandhi in Delhi when he called a meeting. Rahul Gandhi asked me why and I said because CPIM cadres looted our houses, killed our workers for 34 years. I was proved right and we could not win Bengal. Thereafter I told the state leaders that now we should stand on our own leaving the hand of CPIM. But no one listened.
But you have been with Congress for so many years?
Answer: I joined Congress while I was a medical student with NRS hospital, when Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi handed me the party flag in 1969. I was a Chattra Parishad (Congress’s student wing) leader there. With a heavy heart I am leaving this party. I served the party for so long. I contested from Sabang in West Midnapore as a MLA since 1982. I was chief whip, cabinet minister, Congress Legislative Party leader, general secretary and vice president of the party.
Why did you feel insulted by your own party leaders?
Answer: Do you know I was boycotted by my own party led by people like Adhir Chowdhury and Abdul Mannan. For 22 days I sat on the sofa from front of Congress Legislative Party office. I was not allowed in. In my 46 years political career I was never been insulted like this. I was showcaused orally. Adhir and Mannan conspired to hand over the PAC chairman post to CPIM leaders violating norms and etiquettes. They targeted me, humiliated me and wanted to finish me.
How do you see the Congress’s future in Bengal?
Answer: Congress is doomed in Bengal. If the high command does not take immediate steps, the little residue left of the party will evaporate. In Murshidabad, once Congress stronghold the party has melted like an ice cream under a hot sun. In Malda which bears the legacy of Gani Khan Choudhury, Congress leaders and workers are making a beeline for Trinamool Congress.
What are your feelings about Congress high command?
Answer: I have great respect for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. I have worked under Rajiv Gandhi who visited Sabang in 1986 while I contested there. I worked under P V Narsimha Rao. It is sad that I have been forced to take this decision.