State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Monday accused the District Magistrate of Murshidabad, Y Ratnakara Rao, of “conspiring with the ruling party” to stop the Congress from holding its rally at the Friends Union Club (FUC) ground.
In an apparent reference to the DM, Chowdhury, who was speaking at a rally in his home district, said, “With the intention to eliminate Congress from this district, the ruling party has engaged a ‘kutta (dog)’ who tried his best to prevent Congress supporters from turning up (for the rally). But looking at the huge turnout, I am overwhelmed,” the Congress leader said in his speech.
He added that he had asked his supporters to “come prepared” for a confrontation. “I had asked Congress supporters to bring a ‘danda’ (stick) and a ‘jhanda’ (flag). As a result, they were not stopped by the police here,” he claimed.
The rally near the Berhampore Collectorate, attended reportedly by some 50,000 Congress supporters, was held after a great tussle between the party and the district administration, with Chowdhury alleging that the DM had overruled the order passed by the district land and land reforms officer (DLLRO) allowing the party to hold the rally at the FUC ground, citing as reason that a state event — Nirmal Bangla Mission — was already scheduled for November 16 at the same venue.
This had prompted the Congress to move court, which had stayed the notification issued by the DM restraining Chowdhury from holding the rally there, although the district administration maintained that the court order “didn’t allow the Congress to use the venue”. The party thereafter rescheduled its program and erected a temporary stage near the Collectorate where the supporters converged on Monday.
At the rally, Chowdhury, who was flanked by senior Congress leaders Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury and Abhijit Mukherjee (son of President Pranab Mukherjee), ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the Trinamool Congress in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Chowdhury also took potshots at TMC MP from Tamluk Suvendu Adhikary and TMC’s Murshidabad chief Mannah Hossain (who recently defected from Congress to join the ruling party), calling them “Lalu and Bhulu”, respectively.
“The TMC chief (Mamata), hoping to win in Murshidabad, has engaged Lalu from Midnapore and Bhulu from Murshidabad. But all her efforts will turn in vain. People will reject them as they did BJP in Bihar.”
On Hossain’s defection, he said that the leader was “unable to make any money in Congress”. “Bhulu has siphoned a lot of money which was allotted towards the development of minorities here and had only built a park for indecent activities,” he alleged, and reiterated his party’s stand that the Congress won’t enter into any alliance with the TMC in 2016 assembly elections.