New Delhi: With the political rivalry between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) deepening, a veteran Marxist member of Parliament has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention against changing the name of a train in West Bengal.
In his letter to Singh, Basudeb Acharya, leader of the CPM in the Lok Sabha, alleged that railway minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee changed the name of ‘Pratham Swatantrata Express’ a train runs from Barrackpore (West Bengal) – Kanpur – Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh) to ‘Sipahi Express’ and has started running it from Kolkata. Acharya argues that the train was introduced in 2007 to commemorate 150 years of first war of independence led by Mangal Singh Pandey from Barrackpore and Jhansi Rani Laxmibai from Jhansi in1856.
Pointing out that then railway minister Lalu Prasad had announced the name of the train as ‘Pratham Swatantrata Express’, Acharya argued that the name “should not have been changed without taking parliament into confidence” and “the changed name amounts to dishonouring the martyrs who lain down their lives for war of independence.
Earlier, the CPM-led Left government had approached the prime minister alleging that Banerjee was siding with the Maoists in states while the railway minister, a crucial ally of the Congress in United Progressive Alliance, advised Singh not to participate in the state government’s operation against Naxals in Lalgarh, an area which was declared as a “free-zone” by left wing extremists.