The BJP’s Darjeeling candidate Sunday said his party would examine the demand for Gorkhaland if the NDA comes to power.
“Our party has always been in favour of smaller states,” said S S Ahluwalia, who has the GJM’s support. “The BJP created smaller states such as Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. We supported the creation of Telengana state too. And we will sympathetically consider Gorkhaland,” he said at his first public meeting, at Sukna.
GJM president Bimal Gurung, who was also present there, said Mamata Banerjee transformed Darjeeeling to ‘Murdaland’ while promising to convert it into Switzerland. Ahluwalia alleged TMC was blackmailing the GJM.
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“Mamata Banerjee never opposed to the move of the NDA government when Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal were carved out. She was in the NDA but never protested. Why is she now against Gorkhaland?” he said.
Gurung said, “Mamata requested us to help her during the assembly elections, and we supported her. Now her party is paying our workers for joining the TMC. We have supported the BJP candidate as they are in favour of smaller states.”
The state unit of the BJP is, however, opposed to the idea of dividing Bengal. Speaking to The Indian Express after the meeting, Ahluwalia said that was a “compulsion”. “BJP state president Rahul Sinha has to oppose it. The party is contesting at other places in Bengal too, and Mamata is continuously saying she will not allow Bengal to be divided.”