In a departure from the practice of leaving out leaders of Opposition parties from events organised by the Union Ministry of Railways when Trinamool Congress leaders Mamata Banerjee and Mukul Roy were in charge, more than a dozen MPs of the party were invited to a programme of Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury here on Tuesday.  

“We have invited all the Trinamool Congress MPs maintaining protocol,” Mr Chowdhury told The Hindu . The Railways are the property of common people and members from all political parties should be present at such events to express their views for its development, he added.

“During elections we may have our differences with other political parties but after elections we should together work for the development of the country and the State,” he said.

For about three years from May 2009 to September 2012 when Mamata Banerjee and Mukul Roy held the portfolio of Railway Minister only the members of the Trinamool Congress and people close to the party were invited to events in the State organised by the Railways.

Even the then State’s Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was not invited to an event in September 2010 when former President Pratibha Devisingh Patil laid the foundation stone of Joka BBD Bag Metro Railway project in the presence of Ms Banerjee who was the Railway Minister then.

Prasanta Chaterjee and Ahmad Saaed Malihabadi -- two MPs nominated to the Rajya Sabha on the support of Left parties -- were present at the event during the day where Mr Chowdhury flagged off eight pairs of local trains in the Sealdah Division.

Mr Chowdhury said that the leaders from other political parties offer valuable suggestions regarding the functioning of Railways and there should be greater participation from all sections of the political spectrum to widen the scope for debate and discussions at such events.