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Didi ignores, Adhir hastens

Adhir Chowdhury

Behrampore, Nov. 8: Junior railway minister Adhir Chowdhury will lay the foundation stone of a 54-km double line from Plassey to Jiagunj, a stretch in his Lok Sabha constituency that was allegedly ignored by Mamata Banerjee when she held the rail portfolio.

In the 2010-11 railway budget Mamata had presented, provisions had been made for double lining of two stretches on either side of Plassey-Jiaganj in Behrampore. The project has been started.

Murshidabad Congress secretary Ashok Das alleged Mamata did not include the Plassey-Jiaganj stretch “deliberately because it fell under Adhir’s parliament constituency”. Adhir and Mamata have strained relations.

“Adhir Chowdhury will give a fitting reply to Mamata Banerjee’s dirty politics by laying the foundation of the project on Sunday,” Das said.

However, Mamata’s successor and party colleague Dinesh Trivedi included the double lining of the stretch in the railway budget he presented the next year.

Adhir said over the phone from Delhi today: “Dinesh Trivedi realised the grievances of the people and cooperated. Pranab Mukherjee, who was the then Union finance minister, had requested Trivedi to clear the project. Trivedi included the project in his railway budget.

“I stayed back in Delhi after becoming junior railway minister (last month) so that the project was expedited. I am happy that on my first visit to my district after becoming central minister, I will be able to do something concrete. The project has been a long-standing demand of the people.”

After Mamata announced the double-lining of the 51-km Krishnagar-Plassey stretch and the 22-km Jiagunj-Lalgola stretch on either side of Plassey-Jiaganj, the Murshidabad Congress had organised several movements and agitations demanding that the 54-km stretch be also included in the project.

The district Congress leadership refused comment. “We don’t want to comment on something involving Mamata Banerjee. But we are sure Didi did not have any bad intentions,” said district Trinamul president Mohammad Ali.

The relationship of Adhir and Mamata worsened in the run-up to the 2011 Assembly elections, in which Adhir fielded four Congress dissidents as Independents against Trinamul nominees in Murshidabad despite an electoral alliance between the parties.

Trinamul leaders feel that although Adhir’s candidates did not win, they played a crucial role in jeopardising the prospects of the party nominees.