Cong-TMC tussle overshadows Rly celebration

Ranjan Chowdhury

Dais damaged on eve of Adhir's visit, finger at Mukul's supporters

The fierce feud between the Congress and Trinamool Congress spilled over to the Railways as supporters of Mukul Roy, Trinamool Congress general secretary and former railway minister, allegedly damaged a podium on the eve of a railway programme near Roy's hometown in North 24 Parganas today. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader and Minister of State for Railways, is expected to preside over the programme.

Adhir is scheduled to arrive at 11 am to inaugurate the event celebrating 150 years of Kanchrapara Railway Workshop at the Bell Institute premises near Kanchrapara. The programme had been planned when Roy was the railway minister, and it was Roy who was supposed to inaugurate the programme. Roy also has a long association with the locality his ancestral house is at Kanchrapara and his father was an employee at the workshop.

According to Railway sources, the authorities had erected a dais, concrete welcome arch and cutouts of Adhir at the venue. Trinamool supporters allegedly damaged the structures and threatened the workers of railway contractors engaged in erecting the podium. RPF jawans were deployed to control the situation.

Roy, however, said that no vandalisation had taken place. "I can tell you with full authority that no vandalisation or damage of railway properties took place. I have all the information. The Trinamool Congress does not indulge in all these things,'' he told The Indian Express.

Roy's son Shubhranshu, MLA from Bijpur under which Kanchrapara falls, has convened a public rally at the same time tomorrow at the nearby Gandhi statue, reportedly to block vehicles travelling to the railway programme venue.

The town is also tense because of strong speculation that a local Trinamool Congress leader, Mrinal Sinha Roy, will join the Congress tomorrow.

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