A BJP MLA from Kurseong in Darjeeling hills on Wednesday demanded the creation of a new state by separating the North Bengal region from West Bengal.
BJP MLA Bishnu Prasad Sharma, while speaking during the discussion on the Home and Hills Affairs department’s budget, claimed that there has been no development in North Bengal and creation of a new state is the only way to resolve the problems of the people.
“The hills have been deprived for a very long time. Various communities of North Bengal such as Gorkhas, Rajbanshis, Adivasis have been deprived. The BJP MLAs are being terrorised. We want North Bengal to be a separate state so that our problems are addressed,” he said.
Later, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP also claimed that the people of the hills and North Bengal have been deprived for a long time.
The comments drew sharp reactions from the ruling Trinamool Congress, which ruled out a division of the state and described the demand as an “insane and unreal” proposition.
“The BJP has been trying to fan separatism and plotting to bifurcate Bengal for political reasons. But we will never allow that to happen,” senior Trinamool leader and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters.
Last year, Mr Sharma had written to BJP national president J P Nadda seeking separation of Darjeeling hills from West Bengal and urged the party leadership to honour its promise of a permanent political solution of the hills which was plagued by protests demanding a separate Gorkhaland state.
He had sent the letter to Mr Nadda months after a similar demand was made last year by the saffron camp’s Alipurduar MP John Barla that had stirred a hornet’s nest in the state.
Mr Barla had demanded a union territory comprising North Bengal districts, sparking a debate in the state. The ruling Trinamool had then accused the saffron camp of fanning separatism.