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Cong ups House ante

Calcutta, June 24: Buoyed by the presence of state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury in the Assembly today, party MLAs locked horns with Trinamul legislators and made forceful arguments in a bid to make their presence felt in the House.

Leading from the front was Chowdhury’s close aide and Behrampore MLA Manoj Chakraborty, who got involved in a verbal duel with members of the treasury benches before leading a walkout.

Since the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress’s morale has been low and internal meetings have witnessed fisticuffs between office-bearers.

Chowdhury held a meeting with Congress legislators in the House today and told them that the state unit would have to be more visible and stand by those affected by “the anti-people decisions and atrocities of Trinamul”.

When the Assembly session resumed after the break, Chakraborty, the former micro and small-scale industries and textile minister, rose to speak on the budget proposals of the department.

“Even ghosts have a future but this department does not,” Chakraborty said.

Asima Patra, the Trinamul MLA who is the parliamentary secretary in the department headed by Mamata Banerjee, interrupted Chakraborty twice. The Congress MLA rolled up his sleeves and rushed to the Well of the House.

“Don’t talk so much. You have a CBI inquiry pending against you,” Chakraborty told Patra, the Dhaniakhali MLA whose name had cropped up in an alleged custody death.

Chakraborty turned towards Speaker Biman Banerjee and said: “The parliamentary secretary is not allowing me to speak.” Other Congress MLAs stood up, shouted slogans and walked out.