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Deepa’s Chanchal rally postponed

Malda, Sept. 17: The Malda district Congress today postponed Deepa Das Munshi’s rally at Chanchal from September 23 to October 9 for the setting up of a super-speciality hospital in Raiganj, citing bad weather.

The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by district Congress president and South Malda MP Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury, North Malda MP Mausam Noor and other leaders here today.

Englishbazar MLA Krishnendu Chowdhury and town Congress president Debapriya Saha tried to speak against the rally.

“The Malda Congress shouldn’t organise a rally concerning the setting up of a multi-speciality hospital (modelled on the AIIMS in New Delhi) in Raiganj. The development of our district might be affected as the rally would essentially mean hauling up the chief minister,” said Chowdhury.

However, other leaders sought to dispel the MLA’s contention and spoke about the need to hold the rally.

“We will hold a rally over the AIIMS issue on October 9 in Chanchal, instead of September 23, as there are still spells of heavy rain. If we organise the gathering now, the weather will play spoilsport. The hospital must come up at Raiganj. I cannot understand why the chief minister is acting in a stubborn manner,” said Abu Hashem.

Mausam, who is also the state Youth Congress president, said: “It is strange that the state government is opposed to the hospital coming up in Raiganj while the Centre has decided to set it up there. The chief minister had said at her public rally in Itahar that she would not acquire land forcibly (for the hospital). The farmers in Raiganj have already agreed to hand over their land and but even then, the government is not showing any positive intent. On the other hand, land is being acquired for railway projects. We are going to the public for these reasons.”

The North Malda MP said north Bengal was backward in many areas and setting up the hospital would open up fresh avenues for development. “We are lagging behind in health, education and communications. If the hospital comes up, it will not only benefit our region but also adjoining states like Jharkhand, Bihar and even the Northeast. There is still time for Mamata Banerjee to initiate talks over the issue. We are starting a movement that will gradually become a mass one,” said Mausam.

The Malda Congress also wants the Chanchal rally to be utilised as a preparation for the coming panchayat elections. Congress state general secretary, Mostaq Alam, said the Trinamul Congress was trying to weaken the party ahead of the panchayat polls.

“The Trinamul Congress knows that it will be difficult to beat us in Malda and that is why a conspiracy is on to weaken the party. We are telling our workers to begin campaigning for the polls in earnest. We will show our strength at the Chanchal rally,” Alam said.