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Black flags greet Deb again

Malda, Dec. 19: Ministers Gautam Deb and Sabitri Mitra were again barracked and shown black flags by Congress supporters when they reached a village in Binnagar I gram panchayat to inaugurate the construction of a road.

The Congress raised the protest saying the road was being constructed with central funds and the local MP and MLA of the party had not been invited to the inauguration as the Trinamul Congress was trying to take credit for the project.

North Bengal development minister Deb and women and child welfare minister Mitra had been shown black flags by Congress workers in Old Malda on Sunday when they had arrived to launch a road work. The Congress was provoked more today by a banner hung at the dais for the inauguration that said the event was being organised by Trinamul.

Around noon today, the two ministers arrived at Old 16 Mile to launch the construction of the 3km-long road to Natun Hat. As soon as they arrived, about 200 Congress leaders and supporters, some brandishing black flags, shouted slogans against the ministers. Deb did not get on to the dais and inaugurated the work by cracking a coconut.

Jannat Hossain, the block Congress president of Kaliachak III, said the local MLA, Isha Khan Choudhury, and the party’s panchayat functionaries were deliberately left uninvited. “We were protesting this blatant misuse of power in order to garner political mileage. We were also protesting against the hanging of Trinamul Congress banners and flags on the dais of an official programme,” Hossain said.

The Congress said it would lodge a complaint against the district magistrate for not inviting the party representatives to the inaugurations.

Contacted, Deb once again said the Congress was against development. “They do not want progress. We had also invited everyone, what can we do if they don’t turn up.”