Mamata blames Centre for backing separate statehood demand

The Statesman
Siliguri, 30 July
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the Congress for acting ‘partisan’ in relation to Darjeeling Hills heading towards a boiling point after the Telangana statehood decision and held Delhi responsible for the current spell of unrest, having prodded GJMM to renew the separatist movement.
It is interesting to note whether her party would tie up with the GJMM and its ally JMM to come in power in four panchayat samitis in the Dooars whose verdicts are hung.
People are engaged in animated speculations as to whether the ruling party would choose to befriend GJMM which is now on a collision course with the state government, with its president Mr Bimal Gurung having quit the GTA blaming the state for the fiasco.
Both the parties ~ GJMM and JMM ~ are convinced that statehood is the only means of development for the under-privileged.
But TMC is for developing the Hills through the combined efforts of the autonomous council and the state government.
Miss Mamata Banerjee has already made her stance clear with reference to the Telangana issue.
The two statehood demands cannot be clubbed together as the realities behind them are different, she has recently registered her opinion through Facebook.
The GJMM-JMM combine, having won a decent number of seats in GPs and in four panchayat samities in the tea belt of the Dooars that are hung, has added a queer spin to the existing political equations in the ethnically sensitive region.
The combine is now in a position to play crucial roles in tilting the balance in favour of any of the parties aspiring to form PS.
While the Congress hinted about a possible tie-up with the combine, the Trinamul leaders are maintaining a studied silence.
Notably, the Left Front (LF) has won six out of 13 PSs, while TMC has won two PSs followed by the Congress having won one in Jalpaiguri district. Polls in the rest four PSs have thrown up hung verdicts.
Interestingly, when the LF has bagged 12 out of the 26-member Madarihat PS, the GJMM won seven seats and its ally JMM two and TMC five.
In the 48-member Dhupguri PS, the Left won 23 and TMC bagged 17. The Congress won five and GJMM bagged three.
Equations are such that the TMC would have to seek support from both the Congress and GJMM to capture Dhupguri PS.
In the 11-member Nagrakata PS, the Left bagged five seats, TMC two, Congress two and JMM and Independent three.
Similarly, in Mateli PS, out of 15 seats, the LF bagged seven, Congress four, JMM three, and GJMM one.
The Jalpaiguri Left Front leader and district CPI-M secretary, Mr Krihsna Banerjee, said: “Jalpaiguri people have rejected Mamata Banerjee for her attempt to drive a wedge on ethnic fronts.
“We will make our stand clear regarding the hung GSs and PSs by next week,” he said
The former Jalpaiguri district Congress president, Mr Biswaranjan Sarkar, said: “We wonder what the TMC would do vis-a-vis GJMM and JMM. We have no problems to tie up with JMM as my party is their ally in Jharkhand. Moreover, we had campaigned with JMM in some tea plantations.”

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