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Dharna for varsity shift
- Trinamul leader protests govt decision

Cooch Behar, Jan. 21: The Trinamul Congress’s joint district president led a dharna here today to reverse the decision of the state government to set up the Rai Saheb Thakur Panchanan Barma University in town and establish it in Khalisamari, the birthplace of the Rajbangshi reformer.

The protest is being seen as a faction fight between the joint president, Grinidranath Barman, and the district president of the party, Rabindranath Ghosh.

Around 100 members of the Rashtriya Panchanan Barma Smarak Samity led by Barman sat on dharna in front of district magistrate’s office around 12 noon. Barman, also the samity chairperson, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had promised during the Assembly election campaign that the university would be set up in Khalisamari, 60km from here. “We have been demanding a university named after Thakur Panchanan Barma from 2010 and during an election meeting at Mathabhanga, Mamata had said that it would be set up at Khalisamari. But, after our government came to power, we are seeing that it is not the case. We have sent a memorandum to the chief minister demanding that she keep her promise. We have started a movement in Raiganj, Malda, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Siliguri from today,” he said. The dharna here ended around 5pm.

In May last year, state education minister Bratya Basu had inspected a 20-acre plot of the agriculture department and on July 11, Mamata had announced at an official programme here that the university would be set up in Vivekananada Road in town.

“The state government should reconsider its decision and set up the university at the birthplace of the great Rajbangshi personality. We are not against our government. We are trying to make Mamata Banerjee realise that she has been misguided by a particular leader of our party. We were hurt when the chief minister decided to set up the university in the town,” Barman said without naming Ghosh, the Natabari MLA.

“Our forest minister and Sitalkuchi MLA Hiten Barman, had also demanded that the university be set up at Khalisamari. But when the government decided to do otherwise, he chose to remain silent,” Barman said.

Ghosh said: “The government’s decision was keeping in mind the central location. The state has full respect for the Rajbangshi leader. The university will be named after him.”