Agartala, March 17: A section of Congress leaders here has decided to float a new party, Tripura Pragatishil Gramin Vikash Congress, deepening the crisis in the state unit that took a thrashing in the February Assembly polls.
The decision was announced today at a convention held at the Matangini-Preetilata auditorium here.
The event was organised by PCC general secretary Subal Bhowmik, who had lost the Assembly election from Sonamura in Sepahijala district. It saw participation by many former state Congress leaders and defeated candidates, including former minister Jawahar Saha.
The participants vented their ire against PCC president Sudip Roy Barman and former leader of the Opposition Ratanlal Nath.
“There is nothing new about losing elections. We lost the polls because of the activities, subversion and corruption indulged in by PCC president Sudip Roy Barman, former leader of the Opposition Ratanlal Nath and their lackeys in the PCC. They had sold nominations, stashed away election funds provided by the party high command for candidates, depriving the latter of financial support and sabotaging the prospects of a large number of candidates in the election,” Bhowmik said in his inaugural address.
He called upon the 20 defeated candidates to remain united and form a larger anti-CPM platform, to which each and every anti-Left party was welcome.
“We will start discussions from March 24 with senior-most Congress leaders like Ratan Chakraborty and others who have been ill-treated and humiliated by Barman and Nath. After that, a state-level party along with names of its office-bearers will be announced,” he added.
Bhowmik also took a dig at the Congress high command saying though the self-centred activities of Barman and Nath had been duly reported to the high command, no remedial action was taken. Rather, the AICC general secretary in-charge of Tripura, Luizinho Falerio, acted as an active collaborator of the duo.
He also circulated a document castigating the role and activities of CPM cadres in the post-poll violence.
Barman and Nath, however, could not be contacted for comments. Both have reportedly confined themselves to their homes after the election debacle, fearing assault by angry party workers and supporters.
Yesterday, Barman had gone on a secret trip to Amarpur subdivision to meet local party workers, who had borne the brunt of attacks by CPM cadres after the polls. The news of his visit got out and mobs of party workers started gathering at the Congress offices at Amarpur, Natun Bazar and Karbook to attack him.
Barman, however, managed to sneak back to Agartala unharmed after a few of his supporters tipped him off about the “reception” awaiting him. Since his return last night, he has kept his cell phone switched off.
Nath, on the other hand, had met with a worse fate near Udaipur town on March 5 when he went there to meet party workers. Irate Congress workers had stopped his vehicle near Dhawaja Nagar, 2km ahead of Udaipur, and started beating him up. He somehow managed to escape the mayhem. He narrowly escaped another assault bid at Lalbahadur Chowmuhuni here on the night of March 15.