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Monday, April 1, 2013

CPI-M, Cong, BJP Move against Malda DM for Holding NB Festival during By-Poll

MALDA, 30 JAN: Congress, CPI-M and BJP are going to lodge complaint to the Election Commission (EC) against the district magistrate for organizing the Uttar Banga Utsav (North Bengal Festival) in Malda despite the declaration of the by-poll of 51, English Bazaar assembly. However, undaunted district administrations showed no sign to retreat with the holding of the festival.

The North Bengal festival of Malda festival would be held tomorrow at Brindabani ground of the district. There would be 12 stalls and some nationalized banks and power grid would participate in the festival as learnt from the administrative sources. There would be a sit and draw competition tomorrow and in addition there would be cultural programmes involving the folk and other artistes. A famous musical band would also perform in the evening in the festival. Rs 2 lakh would be spent alone for the festival while another Rs 3.93 lakh are being spent for the decorators. Questions are being raised for such a huge expense for such a limited period of the festival.

Malda DM Archana
The divisional railway manager (DRM) of Eastern Railway, Malda division Mr Rabindra Gupta has been invited to inaugurate the festival. Mr Gupta said, “I have received an invitation by the district magistrate to inaugurate the festival and he has accepted the invitation.” However, the minister of state of Union Railway ministry Adhir Choudhury said that the DRM was not supposed to inaugurate the programme when the model code of conduct (MCC) of the EC had been in force. Mr Choudhury said he would look into how the DRM consented to inaugurate the festival.

Meanwhile, another controversy gripped the festival after the minister of state of Union health and family planning ministry and district Congress president AH Khan Choudhury (Dalu) today said to media that the festival was a means to influence the voters during the election process. Mr Khan Choudhury alleged that the DM Dr Archana had been acting as an instrument of the state government and deliberately violated the MCC. He informed that a complaint would be lodged against the DM to the EC.

CPI-M district secretary Ambar Mitra also said that previously the festival was scheduled to be held in Old Malda. “But the shift of the venue of the festival overnight at the heart of English Bazaar is a clear means of violating the MCC by the district magistrate. We have informed the EC in this regard and would see the end of it,” Mr Mitra said.

District BJP president Shibendu Sekhar Roy too said that all the banks were expected to stop sanctioning loans soon after the declaration of election. “It’s completely against the MCC of the EC to open bank stalls in the fair. We just don’t understand why the district administration has taken the risk of holding a government sponsored festival in English Bazaar now! We would take the matter up with the EC seriously,” Mr Roy said.

Though the DM could not be reached, the additional district magistrate (ADM) of Zilla Parishad who is supervising the festival claimed that the festival was declared before the declaration of the by-poll and due permission had been obtained.

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