West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee had favoured the creation of smaller States when she was with the National Democratic Alliance government, BJP’s candidate in the Darjeeling hills, Surinder Singh Ahluwalia said on Friday.
Mr. Ahluwalia, being supported by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), has been demanding a separate State of Gorkhaland in the Darjeeling hills.
“Mamata Banerjee does not support the creation of a separate State in Darjeeling now, but when she was a Minister in the NDA government, she had backed creation of smaller States,” he said in Siliguri.
The Trinamool Congress, which has fielded former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, accuses the BJP of indulging in the politics of division of the State.
Ms. Banerjee while addressing a meeting of party workers earlier this week at Gorubathan in the district had accused the BJP of trying to divide the State.
“There are some people who are trying to play divisive politics in the hills for their own vested interests as they feel that they can become kings by doing so,” she had said. Meanwhile, Mr Ahluwalia questioned the source of funds of the Trinamool Congress and added that he knows Ms. Banerjee well.
In 2009, the GJM supported BJP leader Jaswant Singh from the seat who won with about 2.5 lakh votes.