Trinamool gets new address in Chandigarh

As Mamata Banerjee camped in Delhi pulling the strings of the presidential election show, two of her lieutenants pitched the tent in Chandigarh to base the Trinamool Congress's ambitious charge deep into north India.

Railway Minister Mukul Roy inaugurated his party's swank new northern region office in Chandigarh's Sector 26 on Thursday ó 5,000 square feet of wood panelled, centrally airconditioned space spread over two floors, rented for Rs 3.5 lakh monthly.

"Like in West Bengal, no farmer will be deprived of his land in north India. After Bengal, Manipur and Arunachal, the Trinamool Congress will now have its presence in northern states under its dynamic leader Mamata Banerjee who is the only leader who wears a hawai chappal even after becoming CM," Roy declared.

The Chandigarh office will be the base for billionaire industrialist K D Singh, the Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, to lead the party's campaign in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and, subsequently, in all the four northern states during the Lok Sabha elections.

"Our leader Mamata Banerjee has made K D Singh in-charge of the northern office which will cater to Himachal, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. As in-charge of Manipur, K D Singh had helped us win seven seats and emerge as the main opposition party in the state. We now are going to expand beyond eastern and north-eastern India, and this office will consolidate our base first for Himachal which goes to polls in October, then during parliamentary polls, and later the Haryana and Punjab polls," Roy said after the inauguration.

Singh, owner of the Alchemist Group that has hospitals, hotels, flying schools and media houses besides the retail chain Republic of Chicken, said the office has only "basic facilities", expenses for which would be met by the party. "It is a party for the common man. I will try to do justice to my new role," he said.

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