A BJP delegation led by party state chief Dilip Ghosh on Wednesday arrived in Kalimpong amid black flags and chants of ‘BJP go back’, following which the party exchanged heated barbs with the Trinamool Congress.
At Dambarchowk in Kalimpong, Jan Andolan Party (JAP) members showed black flags and posters, and chanted slogans against the BJP. They also questioned why S S Ahluwalia, BJP MP from Darjeeling, was conspicuous by his absence.
Later at Marwari Bhawan in Kalimpong, where BJP leaders held a meeting, a small agitation took place outside. The BJP is the first political party to visit the Hills after the indefinite strike was lifted on September 26.
“We are the first political party to reach out to Hill people. The strike has been lifted, and we want normalcy back in the Hills. There are a section of people who are acting on behalf of the state government, and against the welfare of Hill people,” said Dilip Ghosh.
“There are demands for Gorkhaland and Kamtapur, among others. People who are neglected and had atrocities committed against them have risen in protest. We want a solution for the Hills through talks. The Centre is ready for tripartite talks, but the state government is not. It is the state government which provoked the agitation in the Hills,” added Ghosh.
Meanwhile, TMC leaders targeted the BJP over its stand on Hill issues. State Tourism Minister and TMC leader from Siliguri Gautam Deb stated that the BJP is supporting separatists and those who indulge in destructive agitation.
“BJP leaders and its MPs did not feel the need to visit Darjeeling during the indefinite shutdown, which continued for 104 days. BJP leaders like Dilip Ghosh have been supporting the GJM’s movement for a separate state because it has an MP in Darjeeling and GJM is its ally. Instead of criticising the movement, they have been instigating it. We are totally against the movement,” said state Tourism Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Gautam Deb.
“At a time when normalcy has returned to Darjeeling, BJP leaders have come here to create fresh trouble. Instead of doing that, they must make their stand clear whether they want a division of Bengal or not. They should also make it clear whether they support the movement which has resulted in the destruction of public property and life in Darjeeling,” he added.
Ghosh is scheduled to visit Darjeeling town and meet GJM leaders on Thursday. He will visit Sikkim on Friday. The proposed visit was welcomed by GJM chief Bimal Gurung, while expelled GJM leader and GTA chief Binay Tamang questioned it.
“On October 4, BJP leaders are coming to Kalimpong to assess the situation and interact with people. Hence, I request my brothers and sisters to welcome them and tell them all that we have faced during the 104-day-long bandh,” said Gurung said on Tuesday in an audio clip.
On Monday, expelled GJM leader Binay Tamang, who was recently made the chairman of Board of Administrators under Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) by the state government, said BJP leaders were visiting Darjeeling to add “fuel to the fire”.
The GJM had withdrawn its strike in the Hills following an appeal by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The Union home ministry is also preparing for talks with GJM leaders in Delhi.
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