February 7, 2023

Ethnic teams stated it was an try to create unrest forward of subsequent Lok Sabha polls


Several ethnic teams, which had spearheaded agitations for creation of separate states in north Bengal over the previous few many years, have now rejected a BJP MP’s controversial demand for a union territory comprising all districts of the area, calling it an “unrealistic” and “vindictive” transfer.

John Barla, the saffron social gathering MP from Alipurduar, not too long ago sparked a political debate within the state when he referred to as for bifurcation of Bengal, drawing sharp retort from the TMC and different events.

Ironically, Mr Barla’s demand didn’t discover resonance with the distinguished identity-based teams within the area – the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJM), Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association (GCPA) and people backing the Kamtapur motion.

They stated it was an try to create unrest forward of the subsequent Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

Mr Barla, throughout an interplay with the social gathering’s north Bengal leaders, had stated he would take the matter up in Parliament in the course of the upcoming Monsoon session.

His views had been endorsed by BJP MP from Alipurduar Jayanta Roy and another leaders.

The state unit of the BJP, nonetheless, has distanced itself from the demand and stated “it was not the official stand of the party and more of a personal opinion of Barla”.

Mr Barla, who had earlier led an agitation for an autonomous tribal space within the area, reasoned that north Bengal has lengthy been uncared for and its separation from the TMC-led state might be the one method to usher in improvement.

“There have been movements here in the past for a separate Kamtapur, a greater Cooch Behar and Gorkhaland. That prompted me to raise this demand… And to be honest, north Bengal region has faced neglect for a long time. It should be made into a separate union territory,” the BJP MP, who has stayed agency on his stance, stated.

The tribal chief from Terai-Dooars additionally stated he and different leaders from the area could be assembly Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on this challenge.

His remarks have kicked off a political storm within the state, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the ruling TMC vehemently opposing it.

“We are opposed to any division of Bengal. We will never allow any such thing,” she stated.

The TMC, which had used the sub-nationalism card to trounce the BJP within the March-April meeting polls, was fast to model the saffron social gathering as an “anti-Bengali” organisation which needs to divide the state to avenge its defeat.

North Bengal, with its eight districts together with picturesque Darjeeling, is economically necessary for West Bengal because it homes the money-minting tea, timber and tourism industries.

The place is strategically necessary for the nation for its Siliguri hall, generally referred to as ”rooster neck”, because it connects the mainland with the northeastern states.

The area, which shares border with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, has witnessed a number of violent statehood actions for the reason that early eighties by varied ethnic teams similar to Gorkhas, Rajbanshis, Koch and Kamatapuri communities.

GJM normal secretary Roshan Giri, rejecting Mr Barla’s stance, stated, “What purpose would a union territory or a separate state comprising all north Bengal districts serve? We wanted a separate state of Gorkhaland. We have been fighting for it since the 1980s. We don’t trust the BJP; they have fooled us since 2009.”

The demand for Gorkhaland was first made within the Nineteen Eighties, with the Subhas Ghisingh-led GNLF launching a violent agitation in 1986, which dragged on for 43 days, ensuing within the deaths of lots of.

The motion led to the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988. After the TMC took over the reins in Bengal in 2011, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) was shaped with GJM supremo Bimal Gurung as its chief.

But peace was short-lived within the area as Mr Gurung rekindled the agitation in help of Gorkhaland in 2013, and engineered a 104-day-long strike in 2017, accusing the TMC authorities of attempting to “wipe out” Gorkha id.

Mr Giri, who belongs to the Gurung faction of the GJM, claimed that the BJP was making “false promises” and his outfit, which joined fingers with the TMC simply forward of the meeting polls after years of rivalry, now, has full religion in Ms Banerjee as she has promised a everlasting political answer.

Echoing him, Bangshi Badan Barman of GCPA stated a separate UT was not the identical because the demand for an unbiased state for Rajbanshis, who make for the most important chunk of Scheduled Caste inhabitants within the state.

“The Cooch Behar princely kingdom was merged with India after Independence with a promise of a C-category state. But that promise was not fulfilled, and part of the Cooch Behar kingdom was divided between Assam and West Bengal. So carving out north Bengal as a state or UT won’t be of much help,” he informed PTI.

Mr Barman additionally questioned the timing of Mr Barla’s proposal and sought to know why the BJP management didn’t increase the matter in the course of the meeting polls.

The leaders of the Kamatapuri motion in north Bengal, which additionally led to the formation of militant outfit Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), feels the demand is “unrealistic” and an try “to settle scores after assembly polls drubbing”.

“It is not only diversionary but also unrealistic. The needs of people in north Bengal vary from district to district.

“We is not going to again this name for a UT standing. We desire a separate state for Kamatpuris. The TMC authorities has carried out varied developmental tasks within the area since 2011. Even then, there’s a lot that’s left to be carried out,” said Nikhil Roy, president of the Kamtapur Peoples’ Party (United).

Once dreaded for its aggression, the Kamatapuri movement, which sought a separate state consisting of parts of north Bengal and a few districts of Assam, is just a pale shadow of its former avatar as several of its top leaders are either behind bars or have returned to the mainstream under the TMC regime.

Even the GCPA and GJM, too, are in disarray over factional feuds and have lost their past influence.

Mr Barla’s remarks, although, failed to evoke any response among the separatist leaders, it led to churning in the BJP’s rank and file in the region.

Several leaders openly spoke against it and have expressed their desire to leave the party.

The party’s Alipurduar district president, Ganga Prasad Sharma, switched over to the TMC on Monday.

Slamming the saffron camp, TMC leader and minister of state for north Bengal development Sabina Yeasmin said, “The BJP can not digest the humiliating defeat it confronted within the final meeting polls. It is now attempting to interrupt Bengal. But the folks of this state and the TMC won’t ever enable their sinister plans to succeed.”

Sensing that the Union territory narrative would harm the party’s support base in the state, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh clarified that no such plan was in the offing.

“Mr Barla’s remark shouldn’t be the official stand of the social gathering. The BJP has no such plans,” he said.

Among leaders of other parties, Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya pointed out that “such a proposition would solely divide the lots and by no means change into a actuality” as the proposal has to be first passed in the assembly.

Political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty said both the TMC and the BJP have adopted “double requirements” over separate statehood demands in the region.

“This time, the BJP is on the receiving finish, and the UT demand by John Barla will hurt the the social gathering each politically and electorally,” he stated.

North Bengal, which sends eights MPs to Lok Sabha, had voted fingers down for the BJP within the 2019 Lok Sabha polls because the social gathering bagged seven seats. The TMC, nonetheless, was in a position to get well a lot of its misplaced floor within the meeting polls held earlier within the 12 months.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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