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MLA skips Deepa protest

Siliguri/Jalpaiguri, Oct. 2: D.P. Roy, the Alipurduar Congress MLA, today did not attend a meeting helmed by MP Deepa Das Munshi in Jalpaiguri today to demand the setting up of the AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj.

Roy in a letter to the district Congress chief said the party should informally procure letters from people who were willing to part with land for the hospital instead of railing against the government. Roy and Raiganj MP Deepa are not the best of friends.

Deepa has been spearheading the movement to press for the AIIMS-like institute in her constituency. She held a meeting in Jalpaiguri today to protest the state government’s alleged indifference to the project.

“When Deepa Das Munshi launched the movement on the issue, I was constantly with her in the rallies. But in the chief minister said during her visit to Itahar last month that the state was ready to build the hospital in Raiganj with central funds only if people are willing to sell their land. So, I find no justification in organising a movement across north Bengal on the issue as it is only a matter of land now,” Roy said.

He noted that the MP had time and again said people were willing to surrender land. “The Congress should take up the task of obtaining consent letters from all land owners and submit them to the chief minister so that the government can acquire the plots,” Roy said.

The MLA said he had mentioned this point in his letter dated September 26.

“I feel meetings like the one held in Jalpaiguri today are irrelevant. We can gain political mileage if we launch a campaign against the government, but it will only delay the hospital construction. Being a responsible Congress leader and an MLA, I want the issue to be dealt with in a proper way. The party has other issues also to take up for the development of north Bengal,” said the MLA.

Some other Congress leaders echoed Roy. “We should place appropriate documents — consent letters of land owners — before the government and demand the land acquisition. The campaign against the government will complicate the matter,” said a Congress leader.

At the meeting in Jalpaiguri today, Deepa made an oblique reference to Roy.

“There are some Congress leaders whose body is in the Congress but mind is elsewhere. We would urge them to leave the party as their departure would only help us,” she said.

Told about Deepa’s comment, the Alipurduar MLA said: “I have been in the Congress for the past 47 years and do not need anybody’s certificate. I have devoted my body and soul to the Congress and cannot think of leaving the party.”