Political Times

Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary: The Bold face, then the volte-face

Congress leader in Lok Sabha, a five-time MP from West Bengal, drew first blood from the second tenure of the Narendra Modi government. After a stirring speech by MSME minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi, where the MP from Odisha’s Balasore extolled the values of Hindutva and spoke patronisingly of Prime Minister Modi, Chaudhary offered a perfect counterweight.

Coming down heavily on Sarangi likening Modi to Swami Vivekananda, Chaudhary felt it was akin to comparing the pure Ganges with drainage. Sarangi while delivering the Motion of Thanks for the ruling BJP led NDA, rambled for hours, mingling five languages in his address. Chaudhary demolished Sarangi’s embellishments with his ‘Gandi Naali’ (squalid gutter) analogy for Modi. Later, Chaudhary expressed penitence and apologised for his scurrilous remarks which he claimed were not intended for the Prime Minister. “If my words have wounded the Prime Minister, I’m ready to tender an apology”.

Previously, Chaudhary had also taken a dig at the Prime Minister’s hollow thrust on role of Opposition in a Parliamentary democracy, stating, Modi should walk the talk and advise his party leaders to implement his avowed ideologies.

On Tuesday when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi along with a host of senior party leaders met at UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s residence to discuss the party’s strategy in Parliament during the Budget Session, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary said: “If the Prime Minister’s message is delivered to his ministers or juniors then it will be beneficial for all.

“What Prime Minister is preaching is most of the time not being implemented by their party leaders.” The Congress meeting was the first one ahead of the crucial session and was attended also by Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, K Suresh and Chaudhary.

Chaudhary, a Congress old timer joined the party when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. He jumped into the electoral fray by contesting the West Bengal legislative assembly elections in 1991 from Nabagram constituency. In the course of polling, he was stalked by 300 supporters of the Communist Party of India and held hostage. Though he lost by a slender margin of about 1000 votes, he earned his stripes in electoral politics. In 1996, he contested from the same constituency and outmanoeuvred his closest opponent by some 20,000 votes. Then, in 1996, the Congress fielded Chaudhary from the Berhampore Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal. He won by a crushing margin of over 95,000 votes, beating his nearest rival- the sitting MP Pramothes Mukherjee of the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Following his success, he was made the Congress president for the Murshidabad district. Between 1999 and 2000, he served as a member of Committee on Information Technology, Railway Convention Committee and Committee to Review the Rate of Dividend Payable by the Railway Undertaking to the General Revenues. Between 2000 and 2004, he served as a member of Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs. In February 2014, he was appointed President of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee.

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