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A CM considerate of Siliguri

Mamata to inaugurate Uttarbanga Utsav at Shivmandir

By Bireswar Banerjee in Siliguri

  • Published 20.01.20, 3:12 AM
  • Updated 20.01.20, 3:12 AM
A stage being erected for the inaugural of the Uttarbanga Utsav at Shivmandir.
A stage being erected for the inaugural of the Uttarbanga Utsav at Shivmandir. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to be an accommodative leader in Siliguri on Monday when she will land here and spend some hours before taking her movement against the NRC and the CAA to the hills.

Mamata will inaugurate Uttarbanga Utsav at Shivmandir, about 7km from the main town centre, so as not to inconvenience the public in the city.

On January 3, the Trinamul leader had planned a march right through the heart of Siliguri town along Hill Cart Road — in an attempt to mobilise support against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the proposed update of National Register of Citizens (NRC) — in the backdrop of a BJP sweep in north Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls.

“We were not sure of the kind of support that we would get in our movement against the CAA and the NRC. But to our surprise, our chief minister’s march was a huge success going by the turnout. Thousands participated spontaneously and we are now confident of the people’s support from this region in our campaign against the CAA and the NRC,” said a senior Trinamul leader.

According to him, given the caginess before the January 3 event, it made political sense to hold the march in the heart of the town. Though the march was a success, the local leaders got feedback that people had to face hardship as traffic came to a standstill for almost five hours.

Sources maintain that the Trinamul leadership — having sensed the mood of the people against the NRC and the CAA — does not want to inconvenience the citizens for the second time in just over a fortnight.

Trinamul sources maintain that this was the prime reason behind selecting a ground at Atharokhai, Shivmandir, about 7km from the main town centre, as the venue for the inauguration of Uttarbanga Utsav on Monday by Mamata.

“The venue was decided after consulting the chief minister. We cannot afford to inconvenience the general public again. We have to bear in mind that the Siliguri Municipal Corporation polls are scheduled in the next three-four months,” said a TMC source.

The north Bengal festival which is in its 9th edition had always been inaugurated from Kanchengungha Stadium, which is located in the heart of the town. Traffic regulation during the chief minister’s function in the heart of the town has always been a major task in Siliguri.

“We expect to kill two birds with a single stone,” said the party source and explained that while on one hand they would not antagonise the SMC voters, the venue would also mean a better connect with the rural areas. Rural polls to the Siliguri Mahukuma Parishad is also scheduled within the next four months.

Sources said that the Mamata Banerjee will directly go to the venue – which is in between Bagdogra airport and Siliguri town -- after landing in the afternoon. The chief minister will also confer ‘Banga Ratna’ to nine eminent persons from Siliguri and eight districts of north Bengal.

Among the recipients are – Rajendra Nath Das, a teacher of Alipurduar, Jatinmay Roy, a teacher of Cooch Behar, Biswanath Laha, writer from South Dinajpur, Ganesh Bahadur Giri, bodybuilding from Darjeeling, Bharati Ghosh-table tennis coach from Siliguri, Subham Majumdar- a professor of Indian Association of Cultivation of Science of Jadavpur University, from Jalpaiguri, Hemlata Pradhan, an artist from Kalimpong, Dwijendra Nath Sarkar- doctor from Malda and Mamata Kundu- teacher from North Dinajpur. 

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