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Bumpy ride gives BJP a poll plank

The cratered road in Burdwan’s Khandagosh

Burdwan, April 14: A bumpy ride on a cratered Burdwan road has prompted the BJP candidate for Bishnupur to make its repair his poll plank.

Jayanta Mondal, who had been campaigning in Burdwan’s Khandagosh that falls under the Bishnupur seat, had on April 10 taken the 24km road that has remained in a deplorable state for years.

The road, built nine years ago under a central scheme, has never been repaired since. Potholes started appearing around four years ago and the condition has only worsened, said villagers who blamed trucks carrying illegally mined sand. As the model code of conduct has kicked in, the road can be repaired only after the poll process gets after May 16.

The driver of the SUV carrying Mondal on April 10 had refused to take the vehicle further on the cratered 24km stretch. The BJP candidate, who had plans to campaign in 25 villages in the area, had to stop at eight.

Mondal today said: “After the bumpy ride on the road, I have made it one of my election planks. Whatever be the result of the polls, I will back the demand of the residents of the 25 villages and launch a movement demanding that the road is properly repaired.”

The BJP candidate said that in the past four days, he had spoken about the road in almost all campaign meetings.

“I have told people that the road that was built during the Left regime has remained in disrepair for years. The Left did not bother to repair it. The present Trinamul government is yet to take any step. This shows the apathy of political parties,” Mondal said.

Candidates of other parties said they were yet to take the potholed road to campaign in the 25 villages surrounding the stretch.

The Trinamul’s candidate for Bishnupur, Saumitra Khan, said: “I am yet to campaign in that area. I am not aware of the condition of the road there. I hope it would be repaired soon.”

The Congress’s Bishnupur candidate, Narayan Chandra Khan, echoed BJP candidate Mondal to attack the Left and Trinamul governments for the road’s condition.

The CPM’s candidate, Susmita Bauri, hoped the road would be repaired soon.

Jayanta Saha, a constable of Hooghly police who lives in one of the 25 villages, Kamalpur, said: “We are fed up with the administration’s apathy. Initially, we had decided to press the NOTA button. But after the BJP candidate’s assurance, we want to test how sincere he is.”