| friends No longer: Das Munshi and Ghani Khan
Malda, Feb. 27: The allegations centering on the forging of A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury's signature seem to have become a major bone of contention between the former railway minister and Priya Ranjan Das Munshi.
The veteran Congress leader from Malda has accused the information and broadcasting minister of 'misleading' the people by 'forging his signature'.
On the day the railway budget was presented, Ghani Khan had shot off a letter to Lalu Prasad protesting against the proposal of attaching the Radhikapur link train to Gour Express in Malda.
For one, Ghani Khan felt, the express would no longer be known as a Malda-Sealdah train, but would be identified instead as a Radhikapur-Sealdah train. This, the Malda MP suspects, is Priya's ploy to undermine his (Ghani Khan's) role in starting Gour Express and taking credit for the Radhikapur train.
Second, Gour Express would not be able to leave without the arrival of the Radhikapur link, which if late, might delay the express too.
No doubt Ghani was shocked when he saw newspapers reporting otherwise. 'I was stunned to see in newspapers that I had congratulated the rail minister and Priya. It is a blatant lie. Priya had forged my signature and sent copies of the congratulatory letters to newspaper offices,' an angry Ghani Khan told The Telegraph over telephone from New Delhi.
Ghani Khan said he would take up the matter with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Addressing a news conference, Malda district president of the Intuc Biswanath Guha threatened to show black flags to Das Munshi during his visit to Malda. 'Priya has cheated Barkatda. Such a heinous act does not become a Union minister,' the trade union leader said. 'We won't even allow the change in the number of Gour Express.'
But Eastern Railway ' through a notification ' has already changed the number of Gour Express from Up 3153 to Up 3453 and Down 3154 to Down 3454 with effect from today.
Private secretary to Ghani Khan Sadhan Mondal, however, said Das Munshi had met the Malda MP in Parliament today and told him that he had no role in introducing the Radhikapur link train. It had been planned by the rail ministry.
AICC member and a close lieutenant of Das Munshi Asit Bose claimed: 'Priyada has not forged Ghani Khan's signature. It is a canard being spread against him.'
Das Munshi was not available for comment.