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'When a Big Tree Falls...' Adhir Chowdhury's Rajiv Gandhi Tribute Another Self-Goal for Congress

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury addresses party workers during a rally in Kolkata on May 19, 2022. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury addresses party workers during a rally in Kolkata on May 19, 2022. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

Viral screenshots of Adhir Chowdhury’s purported tweet showed images of Rajiv Gandhi along with a controversial quote that was attributed to the former PM after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was left firefighting on Saturday when a tweet attributed to him on the occasion of Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary evoked painful memories of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Viral screenshots of Chowdhury’s purported tweet showed images of Rajiv Gandhi along with a quote that was attributed to the former prime minister after the assassination of his mother and then PM Indira Gandhi at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

In the aftermath of the anti-Sikh riots, in which prominent Congress leaders are accused, Rajiv Gandhi is reported to have said at a public gathering: “Jab bhi koi bada ped girta hai, toh dharti thodi hilti hai (Whenever a big tree falls, the earth shakes).” Over the years, the statement has been cited as the Congress’ justification for the riots that killed more than 2,000 in the national capital.

As the BJP and other parties took potshots at him and the Congress, Chowdhury claimed the tweet had “nothing to do with my own observation” despite having first posted and then deleted the tweet from his official handle. He denied that he used the phrase “when a big tree falls, the ground shakes” along a photograph of Rajiv Gandhi on Twitter and claimed his account was hacked as he was delivering a speech at a party office in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district when the social media post was made.

“A malicious campaign is propagated by those forces inimical to me,” Chowdhury said.

Taking a jibe at the Congress, BJP leader Amit Malviya said Chowdhury had decided to “call a spade a spade”.

National Conference leader and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said: “The Congress doesn’t need others to pull it down when it does such a good job scoring self-goals.”

While the Congress was yet to respond to the criticism of Chowdhury’s tweet, it adds to the grand old party’s kitty of troubles months after losing power in Punjab to the Aam Aadmi Party.

The party had last week also faced criticism for exempting the Gandhis from its ‘one family, one ticket’ rule, inviting dynasty politics jabs from the BJP and other parties.

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