It seems that Adhir Chowdhury, Rahul Gandhi's best bet for Congress's prospects in the state, has become a real burden on the party. Chowdhury had become the president of the Congress party in West Bengal five years back.
Chowdhury, a four-time MP from Beharampore in Murshidabad, is losing considerable ground even on his own home turf. The Murshidabad Zilla Parishad, which was run by Congress for decades, recently went to Trinamool Congress as majority of the members left Congress. Now the Beharampore and other municipalities in the districts share the same fate.
Since Chowdhury took the chair, dozens of Congress leaders and PCC members either became ineffective or defected over to the Trinamool Congress.
If sources are to be believed, two more prominent members including disgruntled leader Manas Bhunia have also decided to leave the Congress. But despite such erosion in the party, the High Command is yet to wake up and take note. No action has been taken by the top leadership to check the slide which is threatening the party even in the state president’s home turf.
“Never before in the past has even Adhir’s own turf been in trouble. Even when CPM ruled the state unopposed, Adhir had maintained a good show in the Murshidabad district. But we are surprised that he is losing ground everywhere including his own home turf,” said a senior PCC member.
Trinamool Congress has wrested Jangipur municipality, which elected Pranab Mukherjee two consecutive times and which now has his son Abhijit as MP. So is Murshidabad municipality, which has traditionally been a Congress bastion for the past 20 years.
What worries Congress is that Adhir himself remains unfazed about his losing ground. He has not chalked out any movement against the Trinamool Congress government in the state despite his party being the principal opposition in the assembly. Quite interestingly, it is leader of the opposition Abdul Mannan, who leads what little momentum the opposition has in Bengal with the left parties including CPM.
Chowdhury denied that the party was collapsing in his home turf. “The Trinamool Congress, spending money and engineering, split. But the people are with us,” he said.
Chief whip of the party in assembly, Manoj Bhattacharya, said some among the people who left were motivated by greed. “But many are deserting out of fear. But the public is not bothered about it. They are still with the Congress, as we are with the people,” said Bhattacharya.
Many senior leaders, who are unhappy with Chowdhury, expressed their anger that even now the Congress leadership in Delhi had not yet woken up to their predicament. But Chowdhury’s lieutenants argue that Chowdhury led the massive poll campaign which made it the principal opposition party in Bengal. The poll results should be taken into account, they claim.
In fact Rahul Gandhi and others are also thinking on that line. But the reality speaks something different.