Hindustan Times (Patna) - - NATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ■ let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

RAIPUR: An at­tempt to dis­play unity in the fac­tion-rid­den Ch­hat­tis­garh unit of the Congress ended in em­bar­rass­ment for the party af­ter two se­nior lead­ers en­gaged in a heated ver­bal duel at a pub­lic meet­ing at Bi­laspur, 120km from the state cap­i­tal on Mon­day.

AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary in charge of the state BK Hariprasad ex­pressed dis­plea­sure when his pub­lic ad­dress was in­ter­rupted by slo­gan-shout­ing sup­port­ers of for­mer chief min­is­ter Ajit Jogi when the lat­ter ar­rived at the venue.

As the slo­ga­neer­ing con­tin­ued, Hariprasad told Jogi sup­port­ers they should raise slo­gans for the party’s na­tional lead­ers in­stead. “Ev­ery­one knows Jogi here. Such syco­phancy is not un­ac­cept­able,” Hariprasad de­clared.

This ap­par­ently an­noyed Jogi, who re­torted, “One should not sup­press the feel­ings of sup­port­ers. My name shouldn't been taken and I should not be blamed for this.”

Hear­ing this, Hariprasad ended his speech abruptly and left the dais. The pub­lic spat left the op­po­si­tion Congress red­faced. Hariprasad re­fused to com­ment, say­ing, “Bet­ter ask him (Jogi).” Jogi on the other hand tried to play down the in­ci­dent. Sources said Hariprasad in­formed the party high com­mand about the mat­ter.

State Congress chief Nand Ku­mar Pa­tel told HT that Hariprasad only tried to con­trol the slo­gan-shout­ing ac­tivists who were cross­ing the lim­its. “There is no dis­pute be­tween the two lead­ers and the en­tire in­ci­dent was spon­ta­neous,” he said.

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