One BJP MP demands separate State for north Bengal, another for Jangalmahal region

Saumitra Khan. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Days after a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from north Bengal raised the demand for a separate State or Union Territory for north Bengal, another MP on Monday demanded that a separate State be carved out of the Jangalmahal region.

BJP MP from Alipurduar John Barla had last week raised the demand of separate state for north Bengal while BJP MP Saumitra Khan on Monday said the Jangalmahal region could well be a separate state. Saumitra Khan is BJP MP from Bishnupur and also heads party’s youth wing in West Bengal.

Both the MPs have cited lack of development in the region to back the demand of bifurcation. While north Bengal is considered the region north of the river Ganga and Farraka Barrage, the southwestern districts of the State — Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram and Paschim Medinipur — are referred to as Jangalmhal region.

The remarks have evoked strong political reactions not only from the Trinamool Congress but from leaders of other political parties who described them as attempts to incite “sectarian sentiments” from “narrow political interest”. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh quickly distanced itself from the comments saying the MPs’ views are not in line with the party’s. Mr. Ghosh said the MPs are talking “out of frustration” because of lack of development in the region.

Trinamool Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said the people of the State will further isolate the BJP because of its demands of “division of Bengal”.

Minister Bratya Basu said on one hand the BJP is observing “Poschimbongo divas” (West Bengal Day), and on the other, its MP is seeking a bifurcation.

Earlier in the day, the TMC leaders have filed several police complaints against Mr. Barla for demanding a separate State or a Union Territory status for north Bengal. About half a dozen complaints were filed at several police stations stating that the remarks have led to law-and-order situation.

Division or bifurcation of West Bengal has always been a sensitive issue particularly because of the decades-long demand of Gorkhaland raised by the political groups of Darjeeling hills. There have also been violent separatist moments in other regions of north Bengal including the Greater Cooch Behar movement. The Jangalmahal region had also witnessed sustained violence between 2008 to 2011 after the CPI(M) had spread their influence over large parts of the region and certain areas were declared as “liberated zones”.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 6:13:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/tmc-files-complaint-against-bjp-mp-over-demand-for-north-bengal-state/article34879080.ece

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