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Congress divided over 'attack' on Mamata, top leaders express varying views

News Agencies | Updated on: 11 March 2021, 11:18 IST

The alleged "attack" on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has exposed deep divisions in the Congress. While the party's state unit chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused her of resorting to 'nautanki' (theatrics) its deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma expressed concern over the alleged attack and stated that hatred and violence were unacceptable in a democracy.

The West Bengal Congress chief claimed that the Chief Minister was indulging in hypocrisy to gain sympathy.

"This is 'siyasi pakhand' (hypocrisy) to gain sympathy. Before polls, she (Mamata Banerjee) planned this 'nautanki' after sensing difficulties in Nandigram," Chowdhury told ANI on Wednesday, hours after the alleged attack took place.

"She is not just the Chief Minister, she is the 'police mantri' (Home Department portfolio) too. No one can believe that there was no police with Bengal's 'police mantri'. It is unbelievable that some youth would push the Chief Minister. Imagine the law-and-order situation for common people when the State's 'police mantri' says she had been attacked," the senior Congress leader said.

This indicates that Mamata Banerjee's position is weakening and she is resorting to theatrics, Chowdhury said, adding, "She is trying to play with the emotions of people."

However, another senior Congress leader, Anand Sharma, had a different take on the issue. Expressing concern over the "attack" on Mamata, he said, "Hatred and violence were unacceptable in a democracy".

"Concerned over the physical attack on Mamata Banerjee ji and the injuries she has sustained. Hatred and violence are unacceptable in a democracy and must be condemned. Wishing @MamataOfficial a speedy recovery," Sharma tweeted.

The incident happened at Birulia when Banerjee after her scheduled campaigning programme in Nandigram was returning to Reyapara.

Incidentally, this is not the first time that the two Congress leaders have had differing views. Recently they traded barbs over the Congress' alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF), a Muslim outfit headed by the cleric of a local shrine, in West Bengal.

Sharma had said, "Alliance with ISF and other such parties is against the ideology of Congress and should have been discussed at Congress Working Committee (CWC)", to which Chowdhury responded, "We are in charge of a state and don't take any decision on our own without any permission."

Elections to 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.


Also Read: BJP's Arjun Singh slams Mamata over 'attack' claim: 'Is it Taliban that she was attacked?'

First published: 11 March 2021, 11:18 IST