Shoe Festoon On Arpita Ghosh Photo

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Raiganj: A Bengal government decision to set up a university in South Dinajpur has sparked a feud within the ruling Trinamul, with supporters of a rival camp on Friday garlanding a photo of local MP Arpita Ghosh with shoes.

Trinamul leaders are worried the differences over whether the varsity should be located in Gangarampur or district headquarters Balurghat will hurt them in the rural polls this year.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the varsity at a public meeting in Gangarampur last month, after which the local administration started the process of selecting a site. Trinamul leaders, including district party president Biplab Mitra, backed Gangarampur as the site. Later, however, replying to a question from Biswanath Choudhury, the RSP MLA from Balurghat, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said the proposed varsity would be set up in Balurghat.

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This sparked celebrations in Balurghat. A section of Trinamul leaders in the town started scouting for land and, with help from the administration, zeroed in on an unused plot at a state-owned farm.

However, Gangarampur residents threatened a movement if the varsity was not set up in their town, saying it is located in the middle of the district that would allow it to cater to neighbouring Malda and North Dinajpur.

The ire at Arpita stemmed from the perception that the MP – who represents the Balurghat seat – supported Balurghat as the location.

Asked on Friday about the protests with “go-back”Arpita slogans, the MP said Mamata would take the final decision. “Only the chief minister will decide where the university will be set up. There is no point in creating differences among the people of Balurghat and Gangarampur over the issue.”