“I am ready to give up my life but will not allow any division of Bengal,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Tuesday as she launched a scathing attack on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), stating that an “autocracy is going on the hills.”
Even the kings do not speak in the language which the GJM leadership is using, she charged.
“The Telangana issue is different. It is a big State and the matter relates to the Congress and sometimes the Congress behaves like this,” she said, addressing an event organised by the Lepchas.
She categorically said there will be “no division and no separation of Bengal.”
“Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong is ours and will remain ours,” Ms. Banerjee said in a hard hitting speech criticising the GJM’s identity politics.
“What identity are you talking about? We have set up the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and handed over powers of land, education, health, and finance… Now they say they want their identity. It does not mean that you will keep people hungry,” she said.
Referring to the political fate of the Gorkha National Liberation Front founder Subash Ghisingh who was forced to leave the hills by the GJM after two decades of undisputed rule, Ms. Banerjee warned the GJM leadership of a similar fate.
“Subash Ghisingh had to go. It is the people who make leaders and who remove them,” she said.
According to her, every six months there was a “new drama in the hills.”
Ms. Banerjee said she would not allow people in the hills to go hungry at the cost of some who want to become leaders.
“The State government had sent rice and all other food available through rationing system. But the shops were closed. Why did this happen?” she asked.
She said she could not see “Kanchanjunga crying.” Ms. Banerjee would say “Kanchanjunga is smiling” when the Trinamool Congress and the GJM had amicable ties.Ms. Banerjee appealed to the GJM to come forward and administer the GTA but warned that if it failed to do so, the government would take a tough decision.
She directed GTA principal secretary R.D. Meena to start work under MNREGS if the GJM failed to attend the GTA meeting scheduled on September 4.
Ms. Banerjee described the Lepchas as the most primitive community in the hills and said they had not raised any demand for division of the State.
“You did not talk about divide and rule. You did not talk about dividing the State,” she said, referring to the Lepchas.
The GJM leadership had accused Ms. Banerjee of indulging in the politics of “divide and rule” by creating a separate board for the Lepchas. Ms. Banerjee announced a grant of Rs. 50 crore for the Lepcha Development Board, including Rs. 1 crore for setting up a new building for the board.