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Cong tells Pranab of boycott

Calcutta, Dec. 3: A state Congress team today told President Pranab Mukherjee and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in Delhi that party MLAs would boycott the Assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations, which will begin tomorrow.

The Left will tomorrow take an “official” decision on whether to take part in the three-day special session, which will be attended by Mukherjee, Kumar and governor M.K. Narayanan.

Congress Legislature Party chief Mohammad Sohrab, who was part of the two-member delegation that met Kumar, said over phone from Delhi: “We could not meet the President because of his preoccupations. But we spoke to him over the phone and told him that we are being compelled to stay away from the House during the session.”

State Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya, who led the delegation, said: “We told the Lok Sabha Speaker that our party MLAs would abstain from the Assembly session to protest the state government’s authoritarian attitude and efforts to gag the Opposition.”

He said the Congress team told Kumar that the state unit’s request for a debate on chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement condemning the Centre for price rise was turned down by the Assembly Speaker.