Congress may replace Adhir Ranjan as party’s leader in Lok Sabha

Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari are the frontrunners for Adhir Ranjan's job; the decision is being called Congress’ attempt to mend fences with the TMC in Bengal

Congress president Sonia Gandhi with Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Photo: PTI (File)

The Congress is mulling to replace Adhir Ranjan Choudhury as the leader of the party in Lok Sabha, in one of the many organizational changes that the party plans to implement, reported Indian Express.

The decision comes days ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament.

A Gandhi loyalist, Chouwdhury, who is an MP from Berhampore constituency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district is the chief of the party unit in the state and had helmed the Congress’ campaign during the recent assembly polls. He was also one of the harshest critics of the 23 Congress leaders who in a letter to Sonia Gandhi last, had called for major organizational reforms in the party including a “full-time and effective leadership” which is “visible” and “active”.

His removal is being seen as an attempt by the party to mend fences with the Trinamool Congress to unite against a common enemy – the BJP.

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The Congress which had tied up with the Left to fight the elections against Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had been staunchly critical of the government. Chouwdhury, particularly, is known to have directed more salvos at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee than the BJP at his election rallies.

IE says Chowdhury’s ouster as leader of party in Lok Sabha is being effected to get an effective coordination with the TMC in Parliament, especially when the Mamata Banerjee-led party is set to raise its issues with Governor Jagdeep Dhankar in Parliament this time around.

Quoting sources, the report say the TMC may need the Congress’ aid to approach the President with its demand to recall the governor, who the party alleges has been partial towards the central leadership.

The frontrunners to take Chowdhury’s position in Lok Sabha are Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari, both signatories to the letter written to Sonia Gandhi last year. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is also said to be rallying support for Tewari to take over as the state Congress president.

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Any decision to appoint Tharoor or Tewari as Chowdhury’s successor is also being seen as an effort by the Congress leadership to strike a reconciliatory tone with leaders disgruntled with the party’s functioning and dismal performance in state and assembly polls.