War of words over Adhir’s ‘... vote for BJP’ remarks

TMC sees red as Congress distances itself from Baharampur candidate.
Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury(Photo | ANI)

NEW DELHI: As a war of words broke out between Trinamool Congress leaders and Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury over his “better to vote for BJP than TMC” remarks, the Congress distanced itself from the row, saying the TMC is part of the INDIA bloc and that the only goal of the party was to bring down the BJP’s numbers in West Bengal.

The TMC launched an attack on West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan accusing him of being a “B team” the BJP, and blamed him for the obstacle in the seat-sharing talks of the INDIA bloc in the state.

The row began after an alleged video clip showed Chowdhury, Congress candidate from Baharampur, saying “it’s better to vote for the BJP than to vote for the TMC” during an election rally.

Responding to the video, the TMC said in a post on X that after acting as “eyes and ears of BJP in Bengal,” Chowdhury has now been promoted to be the “voice of the BJP in Bengal.” “Listen to how the B-Team member is openly asking people to vote for BJP, a party that refused to release Bengal’s rightful due and deprived our people of their rights.

Only a Bangla birodhi can campaign for BJP, which has repeatedly insulted Bengal’s icons,” said the TMC. “On May 13, people of Baharampur will give a befitting response to this betrayal!” it added.

Calling Chowdhury as the BJP’s agent, TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said he is the sole reason for the failure of the INDIA bloc in the state.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Saket Gokhale also attacked the Congress leader over the remarks. “While Mamata Banerjee fights against the full might of Modi’s central agencies, Bengal Congress is openly asking votes for the BJP,” he said.

Commenting on the remark, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the goal of his party is to bring the BJP’s numbers down in West Bengal and that TMC is a part of the INDIA bloc. “I do not know the context of what Adhir said, but our aim is to reduce the numbers of BJP in West Bengal significantly,” Ramesh said.

“They won 18 out of 43 seats, we have to reduce their numbers and that is the only goal. Congress, along with Left parties, is a part of INDIA bloc, TMC leader Mamata Banerjee has also said they are part of the INDIA bloc, though we are not in a seat sharing arrangement,” he said. The state is witnessing a contest between the TMC, Congress-Left alliance, and the BJP.

Candidates for Amethi and Rae Bareli ‘soon’

The Congress will announce candidates for Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seats on Thursday. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge will announce the candidates in the 24-30 hours, said Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh. While there was unusual delay in announcing the candidates for the two seats, which are considered to be the family bastion of Gandhis, Ramesh dismissed the allegations.

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