Congress Infighting in India's Assam: Lawmaker Under Fire From Party for 'Destroying Social Harmony'
11:41 GMT 02.10.2021 (Updated: 10:39 GMT 19.07.2022)
The Indian National Congress is struggling to contain the infighting among its leaders, at both national and state levels. Several senior leaders have quit their post in Punjab state, which is ruled by the party, prompting a crisis in the government months before state polls. Several parliamentarians have quit the party to join other parties.
Infighting woes in India's main Opposition party Congress appear to be worsening, with politicians in its north-eastern Assam state being at loggerheads with each other.
On Friday, the party issued a show cause notice to its lawmaker Sherman Ali Ahmed for making statements with "communal overtones" against his own party's policies.
The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee has asked Ahmed to explain his controversial statements which have a "great propensity" to destroy the social harmony of the State.
Ahmed, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), had made "communally provocative comments on incidents of Assam agitation on 29 September in front of the media that have gone viral on social media platforms."
The lawmaker had said that those who died as during the massive eviction drive by state authorities were not martyrs. More than 1,300 families were removed from government land and rendered homeless and turned violent on 28 September resulting in two protesters being killed.
Congress has stressed that it viewed Ahmed's comments as "politically motivated" and made with an intent to cause damage to the party just a month ahead of the by-elections.
The notice handed down by the party has stated that Ahmed's act "will give fuel to the BJP's divisive communal agenda in Assam".
Ahmed has also been alleged to be "acting as an agent of BJP" and is viewed as being close to the Assam state chief and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma. He has also been accused of making provocative comments to cause damage to Congress.
30 September 2021, 19:37 GMT
In February this year, a Congress Parliamentarian Abdul Khaleque from Assam state sent a legal notice to Ahmed and sought an "unconditional apology in writing" from him after Ahmed accused Khaleque of favouring a local contractor - who has a poor record - in a government contract to develop a road. Khaleque denied the accusations.
28 September 2021, 18:03 GMT
The by-elections for five assembly seats in Assam are set to be held on 30 October.