Kolkata: West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury has kicked up a controversy by making winning MPs from his party sign an undertaking ‘swearing unqualified allegiance’ to party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.
According to a report in Indian Express, the undertaking, made on a Rs 100-stamp paper, also seeks to ensure that the MLAs will not “get involved in any anti-party activity”.
The decision to make MLAs sign such a pledge was taken at meeting between legislators, district presidents, state party leaders and Chowdhury. There was unanimous agreement on the issue, it is learnt.
The first of four points in the two-page stamp paper states: “I do swear my unqualified allegiance to Indian National Congress led by Hon’ble Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi Ji and Hon’ble Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi Ji.”
The second states: “I, as a member of the legislative assembly, will not get involved in any anti-party activity. Even if I do not agree with any party policy and/or party decision, I will not make any negative comment thereon and/or I shall not take any negative action to the detriment of the party. In such a scenario, I shall resign from my post of MLA before making such comment and/or taking such action.”
The third point refers to MLAs abiding by party guidelines and obeying the chief whip. The last point affirms that the first three statements are “true to my knowledge”.
But Bengal Congress president Chowdhury defended the decision to make MLAs sign the undertaking, claiming it was ‘voluntary’. “It is not a bond which we have forced people (to sign) to take action against them if they fail to live up to the conditions. It is more of a voluntary pledge by partymen as a gesture of their allegiance,” he said. He further claimed that there is ‘ample scope’ within the party to express disagreements and concerns.
Another Congress MLA, Abdul Mannan who won from the Champdani constituency in Hooghly district, was more forthcoming. He admitted that Congress MLAs defecting to other parties was a concern, implying that this was a major reason why the victorious MLA had been made to sign the document....