HAVING failed to drum up their support for her party’s candidate in Darjeeling, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Sunday put the blame on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), saying that the local party did not respond to her call for a consensus candidate.
“Before the elections were announced, I called the Morcha thrice to put up a common candidate. Every time they replied saying “charcha ho ra ha hai (we are having discussions)”.
Then they sold the ticket to Delhi. They do it every time the elections are here. Don’t you have a good candidate here? Why do you have to bring somebody from Delhi?’’ she asked in an apparent reference to BJP candidate S S Ahluwalia. The GJM has extended support to Ahuwalia.
The West Bengal CM was addressing a rally at the Mall in Darjeeling in support of her party candidate Baichung Bhutia. Without naming the Morcha, she alleged that a politics of “loot of public funds” was going on in the hills. “Except two or three, we transferred all the relevant departments under the state government to the GTA. But no work has been done. Now they are trying to set the hills on fire,” Mamata said.
Coming down on the ‘bandhs’, Mamata said, “Here you close everything, the schools, the markets and you enjoy life elsewhere. Money is being squandered away.”
Asserting that she will not allow division of state, she said her government was bringing in development. “We have set up a polytechnic college, an engineering college, a degree college, a project for drinking water at Darjeeling,” she said.
Later, in Siliguri, she said the TMC will emerge as the “No. 1 party in the country” after polls and “we will decide who will become the PM”.
When contacted, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said at least he never received any calls from the CM. “Whom did she call? At least, she did not call me.”