The Gorkhaland protests have begun in earnest — not in Delhi but in chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s “smiling” hills. And it has almost ruined Banerjee’s visit.
With statehood posters pasted across Kalimpong and Algarah and a near showdown at a government programme in Darjeeling, the chief minister was left fuming. “I am very rough and tough. Do not give me a wrong message,” was her final response.
With the statehood demand being resurrected earlier this month, the GJM’s welcome for Banerjee had missed its usual warmth. But matters came to a head at the Uttarbanga Utsav, where she was inaugurating six development projects.
“Darjeeling is a part of Bengal,” Banerjee had declared from the dais. “There should be no attempt to derail the peace. If some disruption of peace takes place every day, Darjeeling will lose out on development.”
Her words were greeted with a chorus of “We do not want development, give us Gorkhaland.” A visibly upset Banerjee retorted, “This is not a political programme, this is a government programme. I am very rough and tough. Do not give me a wrong message.”
GJM leader Bimal Gurung stepped up the pressure at a press conference.
“Land is a transferred subject to the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). CM has been giving land rights without consulting the GTA,” he said. The aftermath was frosty.
TMC showcases Tata project as ‘success story’
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee may have made her political fortune Tata baiting, but her recent investor summit showcased a lone Tata Motors project as a ‘success story’.
What is more, the project — Telcon, a joint venture between Tata Motors and Hitachi Construction machinery Company of Japan — was proposed and delivered during the Left Front rule.
“It is probably a mistake. I am asking them to upload (on the summit website) other success stories immediately,” said industry minister Partha Chatterjee.