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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Days after snub, Kharge lauds Adhir Ranjan as Congress' combative soldier

On Saturday, Kharge had dismissed Chowdhury's criticism of Mamata Banerjee while addressing a joint press conference with Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai.
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 07:29 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 07:29 IST

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New Delhi: Days after snubbing him for questioning the trustworthiness of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday heaped praise on West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, lauding him as a "combative soldier" of the party.

Kharge had snubbed Chowdhury, five-time Lok Sabha MP from Bahrampur, last week for his remarks that Banerjee cannot be trusted and that she might go with the BJP.

"Vo hamarey ladaku sipahi hain (combative solider)," he said about Chowdhury, who has only intensified his offensive against the West Bengal chief minister by alleging that she has used violence to crush the Congress in the state and has been helping the BJP.

Asked if the Congress was making the same mistake with Chowdhury as it had made with Banerjee in 1998 when she had quit the party to form her own protesting its coyness in the face of Left 'atrocities' on party cadres in Bengal, Kharge told PTI, "I do not want to speak about an individual. He is a combative soldier of the Congress party and is our leader in West Bengal".

Kharge said some TMC leaders were now trying to rake up the issue of the Congress alliance with the Left but that will not help.

"They are trying to present it differently. But it will not happen like this as the Congress party is strong and understands each other. What has happened in West Bengal is that the Congress high command has taken a decision to have a coalition with the Left and we are moving forward with that," Kharge said.

The TMC is contesting the Lok Sabha elections alone in the state, while the Congress and the Left are jointly fighting the polls.

On Saturday, Kharge had dismissed Chowdhury's criticism of Banerjee while addressing a joint press conference with Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai.

"Mamata Banerjee is with the alliance. She has recently said that she will join the government. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will not take the decision. The decision will be taken by me and the high command and those who don't agree will go out," Kharge had said in remarks that riled Chowdhury's supporters in Bengal.

Chowdhury, while reacting to Kharge's comments, had said, "I cannot speak in favour of someone who wants to finish me and our party in Bengal politically. This is a battle for every Congress worker. I have spoken on their behalf. I don't want the state Congress to be used for her (Banerjee's) personal agenda and then finish the organisation".

After Kharge's remarks, several posters and hoardings of the Congress president were defaced with ink in front of the party's state headquarters in Kolkata on Sunday.

Chowdhury had expressed displeasure over the incident and asked party workers to lodge a police complaint.

Banerjee, who had initially stated that she will extend outside support to the opposition front I.N.D.I.A. after it comes to power, later said she is very much part of the anti-BJP alliance at the national level and would form the next government with it.

However, the West Bengal CM alleged that the state units of both CPI(M) and Congress, who are part of the alliance, have joined hands and helped the BJP in the state.

The TMC had walked out of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc in West Bengal in January.

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Published 20 May 2024, 07:29 IST

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