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Agni dig at Mamata

Deepa Das Munshi at Panishala on Tuesday. Picture by Nantu Dey

Chanchal (Malda), Oct. 9: The burning quest of making an AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj made Deepa Das Munshi today resort to the symbolism of agni, a day after Trinamul minister Subrata Mukherjee warned that the Congress was “playing with fire”.

“Banglar agni kanya (meaning Mamata Banerjee) Banglar manusher pete agoon dhoriyechhe (Bengal’s firebrand leader is making people go hungry),” Deepa, the prime mover for the AIIMS project, told a gathering in Kalambagan, about 65km from Malda. “Her own party workers will have to get the fire brigade to douse these flames,” the Raiganj MP said.

State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya echoed Deepa at the public meeting. Also present were the two Congress MPs from Malda, Mausam Noor and her uncle Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury.

A crowd of about 15,000 people had braved the overnight rain that had made the ground here slushy to hear the leaders from 2.30pm to about 5pm.

“We had thought that we would leave development issues out of politics. But the manner in which Mamata Banerjee has politicised the AIIMS issue, we have no other option but to tell people of her narrow-mindedness, just because Deepa should get the credit if the facility comes up in Raiganj,” Bhattacharya said.

He said the matter would feature in his party’s campaign in the coming panchayat polls.

“It is uncanny to hear the chief minister. It seems that Jyoti Basu is speaking in a different voice. Just like the CPM used to be, the chief minister is against projects and is always uttering no. I will not allow this, not allow that. It seems the Left has been voted back to power. There is no change in the rhetoric,” Bhattacharya said.

Deepa, whose “agni kanya” dig seemed to be areply to Subrata’s warning yesterday, said: “The chief minister announced in a meeting in Itahar that she would build the hospital if land was provided. The people are willing to part with their land and yet she is not willing to accept that.”

Deepa said her next meeting would be at Panishala in Raiganj on Thursday where the farmers are ready to part with their land and where the Raiganj MP wants the super-speciality hospital to come up.

“We will have the hospital in Raiganj at any cost,” she told the crowd.

Mausam dubbed Mamata and her party leaders’ stand as “dirty politics”. “When we joined the state government we believed that the Raiganj hospital would come up. Now we have a feeling that the chief minister is bent on not allowing it to come up at all. The people will answer to this in the panchayat polls,” Mausam said.

Subrata had yesterday repeated Mamata’s and Trinamul’s stand to make the hospital in Kalyani, Nadia.