DUMKA: Godda MP Nishikant Dubey and Poraiyahat MLA Pradeep Yadav engaged in verbal duel and fisticuffs at Godda railway station during the inaugural run of the Godda–New Delhi Humsafar Express on Thursday afternoon.
Union railway minister Piyush Goyal via video conferencing from New Delhi inaugurated the 32-km-long railway line, built at a cost of Rs 550 crore. He also flagged off the new train, which left Godda at 3 pm and is slated to arrive at New Delhi in 24 hours. Mahagama MLA Deepika Pandey Singh, transport minister Champai Soren and Yadav attended the event.
A bunch of JMM and Congress supporters allegedly barged into Godda station and carried party flags to make their presence known.
Dubey, who was invited by the Railways and was present at the station for the flag-off, also boarded the train for its onward journey to the national capital.
Although it is not known what led to the tussle between the two, Dubey and Yadav exchanged heated words and in a video, which later started doing rounds on social media, both were seen trying to land blows at each other as their bodyguards and police officers tried to shield them away from each other’s ranges.
Dubey accused Yadav, Singh and Soren of hijacking the event. He also accused the Godda administration of being a mute spectator and not dispensing its duties to enforce the April 6 order passed by the state government which prohibits public gatherings. “I underwent a Covid-19 test before attending the event and only attended after I tested negative.
But the lawmakers from the ruling alliance violated the guidelines, arrived here with hundreds of supporters and even tried to harm me,” Dubey said.
While Yadav could not be contacted, Singh tried to downplay the scuffle. “Unruly scenes or not, the event is a matter of great joy for the people of Santhal-Pargana.” She deflected questions on the alleged violation of Covid-19 guidelines.
A statement issued by the Railways quoted Goyal as saying: “The Hansdiha-Godda project was approved in 2011, however, no progress was made until 2014. Till date, this project has attracted an investment of Rs 550 crore.
With this new Hansdiha-Godda Rail line, the area would develop at a faster pace generating more employment opportunities in future. A Kisan rail may be started to transport the farmers’ produce from this area.”