Opposition attacks Mamata for Darjeeling situation

Kolkata, Jan 29 (IANS) With the GJM activists raising the demand for Gorkhaland in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, opposition parties Tuesday lost no time in blaming her for the "state of affairs" in Darjeeling while rejecting the demand for a separate state.

Left Front chairman and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Biman Bose ridiculed Banerjee's oft-repeated comment that "Darjeeling is smiling" and said: "Now her own experience will make her realize that the hills are not smiling.

Alleging that the Gorkha Territorial Administration pact signed by the Banerjee government with the centre and the Gorka Janmukti Morcha (GJM) last year had "sown the seeds of trouble" in the hills, Bose said the chief minister had claimed after signing the treaty that the Darjeeling problem was solved.

"We had then said that the GJM's final aim was to get Gorkhaland. Now people can see the situation for themselves."

Leader of the Opposition and CPI-M politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra alleged that the chief minister has created a "Frankenstein".

"She does not have any control over the GJM, which has become a Frankenstein after the GTA pact was inked," Mishra said.

However, he said the Left Front was firmly opposed to the demand for Gorkhaland and would even accept the "Banerjee-GJM nexus" even if it smacked off "opportunism" if that helped in keeping the state united.

Union Minister of State for Urban Development and Congress leader Deepa Dasmunshi said: "It is unfortunate that the bubble of 'Darjeeling is smiling' has burst so soon."

At a state government programme in Darjeeling, GJM activists raised slogans and displayed posters seeking Gorkhaland, embarrassing Banerjee who had minutes earlier announced a slew of development initiatives.

However, Banerjee admonished the activists, saying it was not a political programme.

Earlier, in her speech, the chief minister asserted that Darjeeling was an integral part of West Bengal.

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