The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Unofficial’ tag on Priya road show

Raiganj, Oct. 28: The district administration today declared “unofficial” a road construction-ceremony held yesterday at Bahin village in Raiganj at which Congress MP Priya Ranjan Das Munshi was invited as the chief guest to “avoid any further political controversy”.

Das Munshi was left fuming after he found his host Ariz Aftab, the district magistrate, missing at the show. The local MP has threatened to move a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha against Aftab.

Senior officials, including the district magistrate, could not attend the function as local CPM activists blocked the roads protesting against the banners and arches that had been put up by the Congress. The road is to be built under the Prime Minister’s Sadak Rojgar Yojna.

Sensing trouble, zilla parishad chairman Nanigopal Roy today declared the function “cancelled”. “Though the district administration had the responsibility of organising the inaugural function, it had no role to play at the last moment. That is why we declared the programme officially cancelled,” Roy told reporters today.

According to Roy, he, and some other senior officials, had tried to inform Das Munshi that the programme had been cancelled after they were unable to break through the blockade put up by the CPM activists, but the Congress leader had already left by then.

“We had no intention to insult him,” he added. “The function stands cancelled as there was no government representative present. We cannot allow any official programme to become the source of a political campaign of any particular party,” Roy said.

The Congress, however, has demanded an apology from Aftab for his absence yesterday, threatening to boycott all official functions till then. They stayed away from a function today attended by water resources development minister Nandagopal Bhattacharya.

Das Munshi said there was nothing abnormal in putting up arches or displaying party banners in an official function. “It was just an expression of their love and respect for me. CPM workers do the same when their ministers come for an official function.”

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