The many divides within the Congress have become obvious once again following the alleged attack on Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee. While leaders of its Bengal unit, including Adhir Choudhury, have accused the Chief Minister of building a political stunt around an accident, the party's state Chief Ministers like Amarinder Singh and Ashok Gehlot have condemned the attack.
The party's top leadership -- Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi -- have so far maintained a cryptic silence on the issue even though messages of support have poured in from other leaders of the opposition camp for Ms Banerjee, one of the key leaders of the UPA.
Ms Banerjee, 66, sustained serious injuries yesterday during her visit to Nandigram. Her leg is in a cast and she is currently undergoing a battery of tests at a hospital in Kolkata.
The Chief Minister said she was pushed from behind by four-or five unknown people against her car and had the door shut on her.
Underscoring it was a "conspiracy", Ms Banerjee said the incident took place when no police personnel was near her. Her party said the Election Commission has taken control of the state police and is acting under the orders of the BJP, which rules at the Centre.
While the BJP scoffed, calling it "drama for sympathy" ahead of the state elections, most opposition leaders rallied to the side of Ms Banerjee. Tweets condemning the attack came from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav and the Shiv Sena. Even Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik -- who lends issue-based support to the BJP -- sent her a "get well" message.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted, "Disgusted to read of attack on West Bengal CM @MamataOfficial. Violence has no place in politics and civilized society. I wish her a speedy recovery. Those responsible must be put behind bars."
Disgusted to read of attack on West Bengal CM @MamataOfficial. Violence has no place in politics and civilized society. I wish her a speedy recovery. Those responsible must be put behind bars.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) March 10, 2021
"The news is distressing that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee ji was pushed to her car by some miscreants & she has been injured. I wish her a speedy recovery. Those behind this must be caught & punished," tweeted Rajasthan Chief Minister, Congress's Ashok Gehlot.
The Congress's Bengal unit, though, differed. Locked in battle with Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in the state elections, leaders of the Bengal Congress did not mince words.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Chowdhury said Ms Banerjee was trying to "gain sympathy" before the election. "She planned this drama before the election after sensing difficulties in Nandigram. She is not only a Chief Minister, but a 'police mantra' too. Can you believe that there was no police with the 'police mantri'?" Mr Chowdhury was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Congress leader Abhijit Mukherjee, however, made it clear that he was not on the same page.
"I wish @MamataOfficial Didi a speedy recovery. Those behind this must not be spared. Didi, you have tough battle to fight ahead & you will surely emerge victorious! My very good wishes for you and again wish you a speedy recovery," his tweet read.