A Congress leaders’ meeting, intended to take stock of the Lok Sabha poll defeat and “discuss the future roadmap”, took a chaotic turn when members broke into a scuffle following a heated exchange of words.
The blames mostly flew in the direction of the party’s state unit president, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, with many questioning whether Chowdhury was at all authorised to dissolve the state Congress.
Chowdhury had in May, shortly after the election results were declared, dissolved several district- and block-level committees of the Congress’ state unit, inviting sharp reactions from party leaders.
Senior Congress leader and Nadia district president Shankar Singh was among those who questioned Chowdhury’s “authority”.
“It is unfortunate the way you have led. You have added fuel to the disturbances within the party. You had taken leaders from Nadia to Murshidabad to discuss the district committee in Nadia and I had no knowledge of it,” Singh said, speaking directly to Chowdhury at the meeting, and added that “your actions would create a political disturbance among Congress workers”.
Singh was joined by party’s state general secretary and INTUC vice-president Kanak Debnath. “If this is the Murshidabad model, then thank god it is restricted to Murshidabad.”
No sooner had Debnath spoken these words that Congress leaders – Santosh Pathak and Amitabha Chakraborty – pushed him and snatched the microphone. Debnath later said he was speaking as per the democratic structure of the party and with the permission of the party president.
“Right from the beginning (of the meeting), I wanted to know if it was an informal meeting as no resolution could be passed in an informal meeting while no formal meeting could be convened if the committee did not exist. I also said that we had been appointed by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and only the AICC chief can remove us. When I enquired about these, Santosh Pathak and Amitabha Chakraborty assaulted me. I will write to the Congress state president as well as the Central leadership Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Chowdhury, however, termed the matter as “slight misunderstanding” which was “immediately resolved”.
“Today’s meeting was to discuss the future roadmap of the party. As opposed to fighting the CPM for the last 34 years, and both CPM and TMC in the last three years, we will now have to fight the BJP as well. We will have to tap the youth brigade who are net-savvy with whom we are not connected yet. We will use the social media to connect with them,” he said, and added that the new government should be given some time to settle down before the Opposition started criticising them.
Santosh Pathak and Amitabha Chakraborty refused to comment on the issue.