People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 37

September 16, 2012


Congressmen Assault President’s Son in Tripura


Will the state be safe in the hands of Congress?

                                                                                                              Rahul Sinha


THE true colour and culture of the Congress party in Tripura was exposed --- once again --- on September 6, when the infightings, unruliness and arrogance of the Congress party led to an ugly public show. The day saw the shameful incident of physical assault on Abhijit Mukherjee, Congress MLA from West Bengal and the son of Pranab Mukherjee, the president of India.


On the day, Mukherjee Junior was in Agartala, the capital of Tripura, to attend a meeting to observe the 105th birthday of Sachindralal Singha, a prominent Congress leader and first chief minister of Tripura. (It was Mukherjee’s maiden visit to the state.) But the meeting turned out to be a complete flop, with barely a hundred people attending it. What was still more pathetic was that only one out of 10 MLAs of the Congress attended the meeting. The top brass of the state Congress, including PCC president Sudip Roy Barman and CLP leader Ratan Nath, chose to skip the meeting.



But the real drama unfolded still later --- in the evening when Abhijit Mukherjee was in Kalibazar of Bamutia assembly segment, just outside the main town of Agartala. to inaugurate a library. The later was funded by local Congress leader Krishnadhan Das who is an aspirant for the Congress ticket from the constituency. Asishlal Singha, son of the late chief minister, and Subal Bhowmik (MLA) also accompanied him.


While the inauguration function of the library was going on, the rival faction led by Prakash Das, a former MLA who is known to be a close aide of Sudip Roy Barman, held a separate meeting at the same place. When Mukherjee was heading back to Agartala after the inauguration ceremony was over, his convoy was stopped at Gandhigram by Prakash Das’ followers who pulled Mukherjee and Singha out of their car and pushed them into the local Congress office. For the next half an hour, both Mukherjee and Singha had to bear the brunt of the ‘reception’ Congress style. According to some eye witnesses, both were treated with choicest of abuses (not worth printing) that were picked up from the dictionary of the Congress. Physical humiliation was also meted out to them. What was still more humiliating was that all this ‘reception’ was staged in front of a large number of people who had gathered there to have a free show of the Congress culture. All the while, both Prakash Das and Subal Bhowmik were seen standing at a safe distance. It was the state police which finally rescued Mukherjee and Singha from further humiliation.


The shameful and uncultured treatment that was meted out to Mukherjee and Singha, though at complete variance with the traditions of Tripura where the guests are always treated with genuine love and respect, is nothing new to the Congress. The assault on Mukherjee might get national attention since he belongs to the first family of the country and even there might be a change of guard in the state Congress leadership as a face saving measure. But the incident has brought to the fore a question which is far more significant than the personal prestige of Mukherjee or an organisational reshuffle in the Congress. The question is: Whether the state and its people can expect to be safe if by any chance the Congress party gets a mandate to run the state government?




The answer is a clear no, if one goes by the past records of the Congress. A few instances may suffice to confirm the apprehension.


Barely one and a half months ago, on July 27, a colonel of Indian Army, B Yadav, who was posted at the Assam Rifles headquarters in Agartala, was allegedly beaten up by PCC president Roy Barman and his brother inside their residence in Agartala. When the news got flashed in the local media, Roy Barman compelled the officer to issue a press release denying the incident and then had ad the copies of the press release circulated from the Congress Bhavan.


A few months ago, when the Congress High Command decided to appoint Roy Barman as the PCC president after it summarily dethroned Surajit Dutta from the post, the latter gave vented to his anger at a press conference. Dutta told the press that after the incident of July 11, 2011 (when an innocent young man called Papai Saha was killed during the planned and violent attack by Congress workers on the West Agartala police station), Roy Barman had hit Dutta with a telephone inside the chamber of Ratan Nath, the leader of opposition.


One can quote innumerable such incidents of shameless infighting within he Congress party. But the core question remains: the same: If the son of the president of India or a serving colonel of the Indian Army is not safe at the hands of the Congress goons, then what would be the plight of the common men and women if this very Congress comes to power in the state?


The incidents remind the people of Tripura of the 1988-1993 era of Congress-TUJS coalition government in the state when a rule of jungle was instituted in the state. During that period of semi-fascist terror, about 350 cadres and supporters of the Left Front were murdered, hoisting of the red flag was banned, party offices and union offices were either captured or closed down. All the democratically elected bodies from panchayats or college unions upward were dismantled in that period. Attempts were also made to gag the Daily Desher Katha by stopping advertisements, cutting off the electric supply to its press and burning down the copies of the paper. The city of Agartala and the state as a whole had turned into a free heaven for anti-social elements. The safety of women was at an all-time low; even women from some Congressmen’s families were not spared.


As the assembly elections in the state draw closer (they are due in February 2013), all such incidents are now again haunting the minds of peace loving people of Tripura who had almost forgotten those nightmarish days of terror. However, with the latest incidents coming to the fore, the people are becoming vigilant again. Those who had somehow started believing that the Congress has changed over the years, are now realising that even if a leopard changes its spots the Congress would remain irreparable. One can well expect that the politically conscious and peace loving masses of Tripura would reject the Congress and its culture of anarchy in the ensuing election, in order to maintain the atmosphere of peace and development which they have created in the last two decades.