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BJP MP seeks separate Junglemahal state, party distances itself from demand

The Lok Sabha MP from Bishnupur claimed that the Junglemahal area has barely witnessed any development over the years, and demands of locals could be met only after the area is carved out of Bengal and accorded the status of a state.

North Bengal Keen contest between rising BJP, TMC organisation heftBJP MP John Barla (File photo)

BJP’s Bishnupur MP Soumitra Khan on Monday spoke about the need for a separate state of Jangalmahal, days after the party’s Alipurduar MP John Barla said that north Bengal should be made a separate state or Union territory for its “proper development”.

The remarks have come despite the BJP state unit’s position that the party in no way supports division of West Bengal.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Matigara, Anandamoy Burman, on Monday reiterated the need for a separate state of north Bengal. “There are no jobs and no development in north Bengal. I am aware of the party stand. But the people of north Bengal want a separate state and as their representative it is my duty to highlight it. Separate state is needed for north Bengal.”

Speaking to mediapersons on Monday, Khan said, “For the life and livelihood of the people of the area, for jobs and development, we can raise the issue of a separate state for Jangalmahal. It is not against the state. Mamata Banerjee calls us outsiders… Birbhum, Burdwan, Durgapur, Asansol, Purulia Bankura, Bishnupur, Jhargram, Purba Medinippur, Paschim Medinipur and parts of Hooghly can be a separate state. John Barla has raised an issue of a separate state for north Bengal.”

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However, the BJP state unit’s chief spokesperson, Samik Bhattacharya, said, “Our party’s stand is clear. We want development of Bengal keeping its geographical boundary intact. We are never for division of the state.”

Chandrima Bhattacharya, TMC leader and MoS (Health and Family Welfare), said, “We will not let Bengal divide at any cost.”

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “Those who are not aware of the culture, history and economy of Bengal, those who are enemies of Bengal are now raising such demands.”

Reacting to Barla’s remarks, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that she would not allow Bengal to be divided and will stop any such attempts by the BJP.

Coming down heavily on Barla, Ganga Prasad Sharma, who on Monday switched to the TMC, pointed out that the parliamentarian, instead of doing something constructive for the region, was “fanning the flames of division”.

TMC’s Rajya Sabha chief whip Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said the people of the state would distance themselves from the BJP even further due its demands of “separatism”.

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