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PM, Sonia Malda visit

Malda, Dec. 10: Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi would visit Malda on January 10 to lay the foundation stone for an engineering college in memory of the late Congress leader A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury.

“We finalised the schedule at a meeting in Delhi on Friday. The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of the campus of the A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering and Technology and both will attend a rally here on January 10,” Abu Hasem, who is the Malda Congress president and Union minister of state for health, said.

The Khan Choudhurys had acquired 100 acres along NH34 for the institute at Naranpur in Old Malda.

He said today’s meeting as well as the visit of the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson would prove beyond doubt that Englishbazar was a Congress bastion.

State Congress president and MP Pradip Bhattacharya said he had heard about the impending visit of the Prime Minister and the Congress president to Malda next month. “I have heard that both the Prime Minister and Soniaji would visit Malda next month to lay the foundation stone of the engineering institute named after the late A.B.A.Ghani Khan Choudhury. We are planning to hold a rally in Malda, to be addressed by them, to kick off the party’s campaign for the coming panchayat polls,” he said.

An AICC leader from Delhi also said the visit of the Prime Minister and the Congress president to Bengal before the rural polls would “help us send a message to the ruling Trinamul Congress that the Congress wants to further consolidate its base in Bengal in the run up to the rural polls”.

Abu Hasem threw a direct challenge to Krishnendu Chowdhury, who had resigned as the Congress MLA from Englishbazar and joined Trinamul. He has been made the state tourism minister. “Greed has made Krishnendu Chowdhury resign from our party and join Trinamul. He has chosen a shortcut to become a minister. He has insulted the people of Englishbazar. Our January 10 meeting with the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi will be the foundation of Krishnendu’s defeat,” he said.