In a surprise move, the Congress central leadership on Wednesday night appointed Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the party’s leader in Lok Sabha, as its West Bengal unit president. With Assembly polls in the state less than a year away, Chowdhury has a challenging task of reviving the party at such a short notice, even as he said he likes to “swim against the stream [tide].”
With his appointment as state unit president, it is to be seen whether the central leadership will relieve Chowdhury of the post of Congress leader in Lok Sabha citing the ‘one person, one post’ rule. Chowdhury said he will accept whatever decision the party leadership takes.
Asked whether Rahul Gandhi will take over as leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, a senior high command leader said, “Adhir will continue for the time being.”
Talking to The Indian Express soon after his appointment, Chowdhury said he is an obedient Congress worker and accepts the responsibility entrusted upon him by party president Sonia Gandhi. “So without any reservation or question I accept it, and I will exhaust all my resources, energy and labour to revive the party in spite of the fact that this is an uphill task now,” he said. “But I always favour swimming against the stream, and I know it is expected of me that I have to swim against the stream. I also relish this kind of adventure,” he said.
Asked about the alliance issue in West Bengal, Chowdhury said, “In 2016 (Assembly polls), we had an alliance with CPI(M). If the CPI(M) agrees, it will be continued. There has been no disruption of the alliance. We have very cordial relations between the two parties, because both Congress and the Communist party are the worst victims of Mamata Banerjee’s persecution and oppressive politics.”
The post of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president had fallen vacant after Somen Mitra’s death in July.