Reactions after Ahluwalia BJP MP Darjeeling backs Gorkhaland

BJP Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia on Saturday raised his voice for a separate Gorkhaland and wondered when will Gorkhas living in Darjeeling can say that they are residents of their state but his party distanced itself from his comments and said it does not want a division of Bengal.

Reactions after Ahluwalia BJP MP Darjeeling backs Gorkhaland
Ahluwalia BJP MP from Darjeeling backs Gorkhaland

“The Biharis say they are from Bihar, the Punjabis say they belong to Punjab, those who are Tamils say they belong to Tamil Nadu. When will the Gorkhas say that they belong to Gorkhaland? Their dreams should also come true,” Ahluwalia said at a programme in Darjeeling during the day. The BJP state leadership, however, quickly distanced itself from Ahluwalia’s comment and said it does not want division of Bengal.

The comment evoked sharp reactions in political circles. Accusing Mr. Ahluwalia of making “divisive” comments, Trinamool Congress secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said: “We will not tolerate such provoking remarks made to gain political mileage.”

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and Siliguri Mayor Ashok Bhattacharya accused the Member of Parliament of “double standards” and “opportunistic politics”.

His remarks may start a controversy as Bengalis in the plains and the rest of the State largely oppose the demand for a separate Gorkha homeland.

Mr. Ahluwalia had taken a similar stance even prior to the Lok Sabha elections, but had remained silent on the issue thereafter.

Not for division: BJP

Realising that the remark may snowball into a major political issue before next year’s Assembly election, the BJP’s State leadership distanced itself from the comment. “The BJP does not support any division of West Bengal … Perhaps he got carried away by emotions during his speech,” the lone BJP MLA in West Bengal, Shamik Bhattacharya, said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had strongly opposed the Gorkhaland demand and quelled the agitation with strong administrative action. After the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre granted statehood for Telangana in February 2014, fresh agitations had erupted in Darjeeling demanding a Gorkhaland State.

“The BJP doesn’t want division of West Bengal but want economical development of Darjeeling. Maybe he had made an emotional speech,” BJP MLA Shamik Bhattacharya said. After Centre s nod for Telangana, protests had rocked Darjeeling over the separate Gorkhaland issue. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had firmly dealt with the protests over a separate state and had nipped the agitation in the bud.

Political parties in West Bengal have reacted strongly to Darjeeling MP S.S Ahluwalia’s open backing of the demand for statehood for Gorkhaland.

Source – DNA – thehindu

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