Didi: Won’t allow state division

Taking the battle to the enemy camp, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday emphatically said in Kalimpong that she was ready to lay down her life but would never allow the division of West Bengal, ruling out a separate Gorkhaland. She also slammed the GJM leadership for imposing prolonged bandhs in the hills, ordering the people to stay home and then ordering them to hit the streets, describing their behaviour as autocratic. Despite the GJM’s Ghar Bhitre Janata call, thousands including large number of women braved rains to hear the chief minister at the Mela Ground. Ms Banerjee was felicitated by the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association (ILTA).
She showered lavish praises on the Lepcha community hailing it as the oldest and original inhabitants of Darjeeling. “Your population is not less but you have always behaved in a peaceful manner. You have never talked about dividing the state. In the name of the bandh, they tried to stop you from coming to this rally but you proved that you are not scared,” she added.
She then announced a string of sops for the Lepchas including employment to 5,000 youths from the community in the police force. She announced crores for building for Lepcha development board, cultural centre et al. She promised to introduce Lepcha language as a subject in government schools in the hills.
Launching a scathing attack against Bimal Gurung and his party colleagues (without naming them) she said: “Autocracy is going on in the name of the agitation stalling development of Darjeeling. They are asking the people to remain indoors. Even kings do not behave in this manner. We will not tolerate it.”
In an apparent bid to fan disillusionment among the hills people, she said that the GJM leaders did not know the pangs of hunger because they had stocked food in their homes, while the common people were deprived of ration because of the bandh. “Their own children are studying outside the hills but the children of the hills people cannot go to schools and colleges due to the bandh,” she added.
Ms Banerjee once again invited GJM leaders to participate in the GTA election scheduled for Wednesday and elect a new GTA chief executive. She reminded the intransigent Mr Gurung of the fate of GNLF chief Subhas Ghising. “It is the people who make a leader and it is the people who reject a leader,” she warned.

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