West Bengal Congress chief and MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury might be replaced as leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. The news comes ahead of the expected start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament from 19 July till 13 August.
Among the names reportedly being considered to replace Chowdhury are those of Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari, both of whom were part of the so-called ‘Group of 23 (G-23)’ leaders who had called for sweeping reforms in the party and its leadership last year. In West Bengal, the Congress and the Left Front had fought the assembly elections together, but drew a blank as only one seat was secured by their ally ISF, the Abbas Siddiqui-led Indian Secular Front party from the Sanjukta Morcha. The Congress had denounced the ‘attack’ on the chief minister and distanced itself from the remarks of its West Bengal unit chief. However, throughout the poll phase, the Congress leadership didn’t directly hit out at TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. Therefore, the Congress’ decision to replace Chowdhury as the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha is being touted as the party’s endeavour to take a significant step to build intimacy with the Banerjee.
The long-term MP from Berhampore, Chowdhury, has been critical of her government in West Bengal. The TMC registered a massive victory in the election, winning 213 of the 292 seats. While the Congress and the CPM drew a blank, the ISF managed to get one seat.