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Cong cloud on President event

Calcutta, Nov. 28: The state Congress today said it was planning to boycott the closing ceremony of the Assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations, which President Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to attend.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has also been invited to the three-day special session from December 4.

The state Congress said it could boycott the session if Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee refused to allow a debate with chief minister Mamata Banerjee over her allegation on the floor of the House on November 20 that the Centre was to blame for price rise.

“We are unlikely to participate in the special session if our demand is not met,” Congress Legislature Party leader Mohammed Sohrab said.

Congress MLAs said they wanted Speaker Banerjee to let them know his decision by tomorrow.

The Congress has been boycotting House proceedings since November 20 over the demand.

Speaker Banerjee refused comment on the Congress’s threat. “I would expect everybody to participate in the special session,” he said. He did not want to comment when asked if former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee would be invited to the event.

A senior Trinamul MLA said if the Opposition did not participate in the programme, it would “not be a good sign”.

Trinamul MLA Silabhadra Dutta today moved a privilege motion against CPM leader Surjya Kanta Mishra, alleging that he “misled the Assembly yesterday by accusing the government of rephrasing his question to minister Firhad Hakim with an ulterior motive”.