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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is set to resume her monthly trips to “politically significant” parts of the state, including Jhargram and Darjeeling, next month. Mamata’s trips to these districts, particularly in the interiors — which she believes were ignored during the Left Front rule in the past — has been a key aspect of the ruling government’s stance.
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Currently in the limelight for her fervent opposition of demonetisation, she is likely to visit Jhargram in January, and will most likely be in Darjeeling for Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birthday. The chief minister, who visits Darjeeling each year on this day, had last year famously rued that Netaji didn’t get the honour he deserved from the “powers to be”.
Her celebration of Netaji’s birthday in the hills is key for her politically, explained senior leaders, as it allows her to “bring to the fore the role played by the Gorkhas in the formation of the Indian National Army”, while also cementing Netaji’s position in the hills. Moreover, along with Jhargram and parts of Jangalmahal, Darjeeling is also the district most impacted by demonetisation in the state.
“It is very important for the state government to ensure that the matter is solved. Right now, the problem is most serious in Darjeeling because of lack of banking facilities and the heavy reliance on cash. “Similarly, Jhargram is a drought and famine-prone area historically. Economic weakness has in the past led to the rise of extremist violence, which has been countered by developmental policies. Now, all of those policies have stopped,” added a senior leader.