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Cong heads for poll disaster

Agartala, Dec. 4: The Congress seems to be heading for its worst electoral disaster since 1978 when the party failed to win a single seat in the 60-member Assembly. The removal of Surajit Dutta from the post of PCC president in July and appointment of controversial former Youth Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman as PCC president have led to factionalism in the party.

In July, Sudip along with his elder brother Sandip sparked a controversy by assaulting a colonel. With clearance from high-ups in the army, an FIR was filed by him against the two brothers.

As if this was not enough, it was Sudip who allegedly arranged the attack on Bengal MLA (now MP) Abhijit Mukherjee, son of President Pranab Mukherjee, by his henchmen only because Abhijit had taken part in a programme without obtaining clearance from the PCC.

A number of factional rivals were assaulted by Sudip’s followers in different parts of the state. PCC general secretary and sitting party MLA Subal Bhowmik raised the banner of revolt against Sudip by accusing him of wrongdoings at a news conference, but Sudip’s main mentor, AICC general secretary Luzinho Faleiro, remained silent.

“He has created fresh trouble for the party by appointing advisers ignoring block presidents and other functionaries to establish his stranglehold in the organisation. To make matters worse, Sudip has also promised to give nominations to a number of aspirants in each constituency creating confusion and resentment,” said dissident PCC member K.B. Paul.

The PCC president’s activities have started triggering massive reaction among partymen almost all over the state. On Sunday, Sudip himself was heckled and abused in Khayerpur Assembly constituency in Sadar subdivision.

“He asked for it. This constituency was contested by PCC vice-president Ratan Chakraborty in 2003 but without asking Chakraborty or the block Congress committee, Sudip encouraged Youth Congress president Baptu Chakraborty to do organisational work,” Paul said.

He added that on Sunday when Sudip was going to attend a women’s convention organised by Baptu, block Congress leaders and workers stopped him and warned that unless he visited the block Congress office, there would be trouble.

On his way back, Sudip went to the block Congress office but was pushed in- side, heckled and abused allegedly by followers of Chakraborty.

He managed to wriggle out of the tangle by promising to take the block Congress into confidence on all issues.