West Bengal: TMC-BJP standoff over Panagarh Bypass inauguration
Singer-turned-Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo was scheduled to inaugurate the six-lane bypass, made to reduce traffic jam at Panagarh Market area, at 4 pm. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, TMC ministers Malay Ghatak and Swapan Debnath, local MLA Alok Majhi, Asansol Municipal Corporation's Mayor Jitendra Tiwari and local TMC leaders took part in a rally near the bypass in the morning and followed by the protest rally, cabinet minister Malay Ghatak inaugurated Panagarh Bypass, few hours before the official inauguration.
Thereafter, removing concrete blocks from the road, TMC leaders opened the bypass for vehicles as well.
"As local people were demanding the immediate inauguration of the bypass and Central government was delaying to open the road, we inaugurated Panagarh Bypass and have opened it for traffic," Malay Ghatak told IBNS.
Following the incident, Babul Supriyo reacted on Twitter: "I am happy the Bypass got inaugurated two hours early "FOR" the Public. They can't provoke me 2 do anything undignified."
However, Babul Supriyo joined the opening function, organized by NHAI, at the scheduled time and formally opened the bypass.
"Super-enthusiastic crowd at the 'Official' inauguration of Panagarh Bypass. "Beware of Counterfeit Functions," mocking the TMC ministers, Babul Supriyo tweeted, after the inaugural event here.
Meanwhile, condemning of the incident, CPI-M Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee tweeted, "The manner in which TMC's Malay Ghatak and men hijacked and inaugurated the Bypass, bypassing Babul Supriyo was never Bengal's culture. It's a TMC culture."
(Reporting by Deepayan Sinha)