The Telegraph
Saturday , February 1 , 2014
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Cong plan on AMU campus

Siliguri, Jan. 31: The Congress in North Dinajpur is planning to project the launch of the new campus of Aligarh Muslim University in the neighbouring Kishenganj in Bihar as a major development initiative to boost its electoral prospects in the Raiganj Lok Sabha segment.

The decision stems from the party’s realisation that it cannot convince the people that a super speciality hospital modelled on Delhi’s AIIMS couldn’t be established in Raiganj because of the state government’s alleged indifference towards land acquisition for the project.

Yesterday, UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation for the AMU campus at Kishenganj, which borders Islampur subdivision under the Raiganj Lok Sabha seat.

Congress leaders and MLAs from North Dinajpur were present at a public meeting organised by the party at Ruidhasa Maidan in Kishenganj after the foundation stone had been laid. They said they would tell the people about the new educational infrastructure that would help the people of Raiganj as well.

“We were present in Kishenganj yesterday and could get an assurance from Congress leaders and workers in Bihar that they would stand by us to strive for land for the AIIMS clone in Raiganj. The UPA government had taken two important decisions for the improvement of health and education in this part of the country. The Bihar government gave away around 224 acres of land for the AMU campus, while the Trinamul administration in Bengal is reluctant to take over plots from willing farmers,” said Golam Rabbani, the Congress MLA of Goalpokhor.

Asked why they were banking on the AMU campus in the neighbouring state, Congress insiders said although Deepa Das Munshi was a Union minister, nothing could be showcased before the people as far as development was concerned.

“We are organising different modes of agitation to protest the state’s refusal to acquire land for the hospital at Panishala. But at no point of time could we convince people about the Trinamul government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the project. Moreover, the state government, especially north Bengal development minister, has executed a number of development projects in the region. To ensure that we retain the Raiganj seat, we have to highlight some positive works by the Centre. That is why the AMU campus will be made the main plank of the campaign,” said a Congress leader.

Another leader said the fact that Raiganj had a substantial number of Muslims had contributed to the decision to harp on about the AMU campus. “The AMU wing is bound to help the Muslim youths in Raiganj. We can win their support by highlighting the benefits of the project.”