Going all guns blazing against the central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused it of trying to “destabilise and divide” her state for the sake of the Darjeeling parliamentary seat, and said the Narendra Modi dispensation was being run from BJP office.
Banerjee accused Union Minister and Darjeeling MP AS. S. Ahluwalia of being involved in the “conspiracy”, and claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party was time and again trying to foment “unrest” in the state’s northern hills.
“The central government wants Bengal to be destablised, they want Bengal should be divided, and Darjeeling should face an acute problem, so that they can get one (Lok Sabha) seat from Darjeeling.”
The immediate trigger for Banerjee’s outburst was the central government’s decision to withdraw seven out of the 15 companies of central forces deployed in Darjeeling hills, which is seeing a renewed bout of protests and violence on the revived demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
The centre’s decision, conveyed to Banerjee on Sunday, has riled her more, as the step came only two days after Police Sub-Inspector Amitava Malik was killed and four other policemen injured in a clash between the security forces and the Bimal Gurung-led faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
“Who took the decision, BJP or the central government? My guess is that the step was taken after receiving a report from the BJP party. If the BJP has taken (the decision), we don’t accept that. BJP is trying time and again to create unrest in Darjeeling.
“I am compelled to say that the (central) government is running from BJP party office,” she told media persons after a meeting at the state secretariat Nabanna with some parties from the hills.
Banerjee said: “It is a politically bad decision, and administratively it is a bad decision, which came when we are trying to normalise the situation. Time is needed to normalise a situation”.
In an apparent reference to state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who recently toured Darjeeling, Banerjee said: “Why is it that a BJP leader went to Darjeeling, and after that this happened?”
Asked why Ahluwalia did not attend the meeting on Darjeeling, she retorted: “He is a minister. How can I call him? Apart from the local BJP, He is behind the conspiracy. He is totally involved.”
“They want the Darjeeling seat. But at times these things boomerang,” she said.
Banerjee alleged that the pro-Gorkhaland agitators were getting support from the Bengal’s neighbouring state Sikkim, and the neighbouring country Nepal, as also some insurgent groups in northeast, who were providing arms and ammunition.
She pointed out that Gurung had thanked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the decision to withdraw central forces.
“After the withdrawal decision, the former GTA (hills development body Gorkhaland Territorial Administration of which Gurung was once the chairman) leader’s party sent a letter congratulating the Home Minister.
“The cat is out of the bag. The understanding, and the game plan to disturb Darjeeling hills is out into the open,” she said.