The Telegraph
Saturday , February 22 , 2014
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Adhir to meet state heads
- Murshidabad leader to cultivate a pan-Bengal image

Calcutta, Feb. 21: Newly appointed state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury will meet 27 district unit chiefs on Tuesday to “familiarise” himself with the organisation and create a pan-Bengal image by shaking off the image of being a leader from Murshidabad.

“I need to interact with district chiefs to get a first-hand knowledge of the party’s organisational strength in rural Bengal,” the junior railway minister told The Telegraph over phone this afternoon.

The meeting will be held at state Congress headquarters Bidhan Bhavan. A day before meeting the district Congress heads, Chowdhury will visit Hooghly to lead a silent march to protest the murder of a Youth Congress leader by suspected Trinamul activists earlier this month.

Chowdhury said he would visit every district. “We need to stand by those who are being subjected to Trinamul atrocities. We have to ensure that our leaders and workers don’t defect to Trinamul,” he added.

Murshidabad strongman Chowdhury, who represents the Behrampore Lok Sabha seat, said the state Congress planned to “revamp the organisation” on the basis of the feedback provided by the district presidents at Tuesday’s meeting.

“My sole objective is to revamp the organisation right from the grassroots to make it a viable alternative force to counter the ruling Trinamul in Bengal,” he said.

Congress sources said as state party president, Chowdhury had to get rid of the image of a “Murshidabad-centric leader”. Before he took over as state Congress president, Chowdhury had been the Murshidabad unit chief for over two decades. “Because of his focus on Murshidabad, he does not know many of our party leaders and workers from other parts of the state. So he will hold the meeting to familiarise himself with them and the organisation throughout Bengal,” a state Congress general secretary said.

He said Chowdhury would also meet the functionaries of the party-controlled three-tier rural bodies next month to acquaint himself with the ground-level organisation. “Adhir hardly addressed any party rally outside Murshidabad during his tenure as the district chief. But after he became the junior railway minister in 2012, he started visiting a few districts, another state Congress general secretary said.

Chowdhury, however, said he would fall back on his “Murshidabad model” while working to strengthen the Congress in Bengal. “District presidents will have to visit every nook and corner of the areas they oversee and reach out to people. Only this can help us regain our position,” he said.