Congress president Rahul Gandhi may have promised to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her war against the centre and the CBI but much to the elation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), his representatives to the state appear to have missed the memo.
"There is no democracy in Bengal. It's with the help of ruling government that people were looted off in the chit fund scam. This police commissioner is Mamata's servant, he will do whatever she says," Congress parliamentarian from the state Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told news agency ANI on Tuesday.
Seizing the comment, two union ministers took shots at the Congress on Wednesday. "Rahul Gandhi needs to hear the voice of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary!" tweeted Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
"Huge money generated from chit fund scam became useless after demonetization & CBI is catching up too. All like minded politicians facing same situations are coming together in the name of #Thagbandhanm" tweeted junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju on the Saradha chit fund scam.
Mr Chowdhury's comment also followed a similar take by West Bengal Congress chief Somen Mitra who asked why Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar was avoiding an interrogation by the CBI in the chit fund scam. "If he (Kumar) is not in the wrong then why is he avoiding the CBI?" Mr Mitra asked.
On Sunday, Mamata Banerjee had launched a sit-in in central Kolkata after the CBI landed up at home of the city's top cop as part of its investigation into Ponzi schemes in the state that defrauded thousands of small investors.
Ms Banerjee said the move was ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to undermine her administration.
She ended her demonstration on Tuesday after the Supreme Court stopped the CBI from taking any coercive steps against the police commissioner but asked him to cooperate with the investigations.
While Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was prompt in expressing his support for Ms Banerjee, the reaction of his party's local leaders exposed the fault lines in the factitious alliance that opposition parties are trying to stitch to take on the BJP in the upcoming general elections.
The Bengal unit of the Congress had also conspicuously stayed away from the mega January 19 rally hosted by Ms Banerjee in Kolkata that saw representatives of more than 20 opposition parties and lakhs of people attend. The Congress had sent two of its leaders from Delhi for the event.
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