Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday walked out of the dais at a public meeting in Darjeeling after Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) supporters began shouting slogans demanding separate Gorkhaland state as she was addressing the gathering.
A section of GJM supporters sprang to their feet and started shouting slogans as soon as Mamata, during her speech, said: “Darjeeling is a part of Bengal.The two are inseparable.” The Chief Minister tried to shout them down, saying it was a “government programme and no political slogan should be raised to spoil the event”. But the GJM activists shouted if there can be a separate Telengana, there should be a separate Gorkhaland as well. Amidst the din, the GJM leaders on the stage began to walk out and Mamata too followed.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung later said: “There were political overtones when the chief minister said that Darjeeling is part and parcel of Bengal and cannot be divided. Every time the CM visits she keeps reminding us that Darjeeling is part of Bengal. The CM may have her own political mileage out of such announcements but she should have realised that such words hurt the sentiments of the Gorkhas.”
Asked if he was contemplating to resign from the Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA), Guring said: “I can step down any moment. No one has come to cling to the post permanently but the GTA will take its decision after holding meetings.”
Gurung also charged the state government with interfering in the affairs of the Hills even after the creation of GTA. He cited the example of Mamata’s programme in North during which she distributed land pattas to several hundred people without consulting the GTA. “Some vested interests are trying to disrupt the peace in the hills,” Gurung said. “We want talks to continue but no one should undermine us.”
Ramesh Alley, the Deputy Chief Executive of the GTA, said: “Land department has been handed over to the GTA but how come the CM was distributing land pattas without its knowledge.”