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Trinamool MP faces party ire after controversial FB posts on Gandhi, Netaji

Anupam Hazra’s actions sparked outrage in the party, with Trinamool general secretary Partha Chatterjee condemning the MP’s actions and Birbhum unit president Anubrata Mondal describing him as a nonsensical person who should be thrown out of the party.

kolkata Updated: Feb 23, 2018 18:22 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Trinamool Congress,Mahatma Gandhi,Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948. (Getty Images)

The Trinamool Congress has issued a show cause notice to Anupam Hazra, its MP from Bolpur, for posting social media messages that are not in line with the party’s position on India’s freedom fighters.

On February 16, Hazra posted a Facebook message that appeared to justify Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination 70 years ago. Six days later, the MP put up another message wondering if he was going against the ideals of party leader Mamata Banerjee by expressing his belief that Indian National Army leader Subhash Chandra Bose was “superior” to Gandhi.

Hazra’s actions sparked outrage in the party, with Trinamool general secretary Partha Chatterjee condemning the MP’s actions and Birbhum unit president Anubrata Mondal describing him as a nonsensical person who should be thrown out of the party.

“Anupam Hazra’s posts are certainly not in line with the Trinamool Congress’ views. Let the parliamentary team find out why he has been doing this repeatedly, because I really have no idea,” said Chatterjee, who is also the state education minister.

Hazra could not be contacted by phone, and text messages seeking his comments received no reply. He has to respond to the show cause notice issued by Sudip Bandyopadhyay, leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, by March 2.

Among other controversial Facebook messages, the 36-year-old MP posted on February 16 that he has trouble accepting “Mr Gandhi” as the “Father of the Nation”. He went on to say that Netaji would have received the title if he was not victimised by “Mr Gandhi” and “Mr Nehru”.

Speaking to a TV channel in Delhi on Friday, Hazra said his was a personal observation based on the interpretation of historical events. “I clearly remember Mamata Banerjee saying that she believes Netaji was alive. A few days later, a party MP – Sugato Bose – said he was not alive. But that was not counted as anti-party activity,” he argued.

The politician, nevertheless, took pains to reiterate his loyalty to the party chief. “When I was sworn in on May 19, 2014, I vowed to live by the honesty and values of ‘Didi’ (a reference to Banerjee). I have lived up to it in letter and spirit till this day, and will continue to do so in the future. But I got the label of being ‘anti-party’ when I thought as a Bengali that Netaji is better than Mr Gandhi. I also had to go through a lot of mental agony. Is there no value in the party for abiding by the ideals and beliefs of the party’s founder?” Hazra asked in another message posted on February 22.

However, the criticism Hazra faced after his post on Gandhi seemed to have softened him a bit. On February 19, he wrote that his love for Bose over Gandhi does not indicate his support for the latter’s assassin, Nathuram Godse.

Hazra’s Facebook rants on Gandhi are not a recent phenomenon. On November 4, 2016, he posted an image of a 10 rupee note that featured Bose instead of Gandhi. Beneath it, he wrote: “...with due respect ...enough of Gandhiji...!!! ...hope someday this person’s unparalleled contribution towards India’s freedom will get recognised “with due regards”...!!!”

Hazra holds a postgraduate degree in social work from the Visva-Bharati University. He also completed his PhD thesis on rural sanitation from Assam University.

Leaders are likely to discuss Hazra’s conduct at a party meeting on March 9.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 18:20 IST