A day after the statehood call, BJP Alipurduar district president Ganga Prasad Sharma along with 8 district leaders switched to the TMC.
After BJP MP from Alipurduar John Barla demanded statehood for North Bengal, another BJP leader has now claimed that a statehood movement is building up in the Jangalmahal region of the western part of the state. The claim was made by BJP MP Soumitra Khan who said that the movement has spread over to districts like Birbhum, Burdwan, Asansol, East and West Midnapore, much beyond Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram which falls under Jangalmahal. According to reports, while the state BJP leadership has denied supporting any such demand, the Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh has termed it an ‘irresponsible gameplan’ by the saffron party. He alleged that the BJP is trying to create trouble after it failed to secure power in the state.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also issued a stern warning saying she would not allow any part of Bengal to lose its freedom and be dependent on New Delhi, after Barla said that a UT should be created by detaching north Bengal.
TMC minister Partha Chatterjee also slammed the BJP saying that dividing Bengal is impossible. “Absolutely shocked at how @BJP4Bengal leaders are repeatedly hunting for opportunities to create chaos in the state. They are simply unable to accept the mandate given by the people of Bengal. Dividing us is impossible,” he said in a Tweet.
A day after Barla’s demand, BJP Alipurduar district president Ganga Prasad Sharma along with 8 district leaders switched to the TMC. The leaders were welcomed by senior leaders Mukul Roy and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy. Mukul Roy has recently returned to TMC after spending around three years with the BJP.
Notably, Alipurduar is the only district where the saffron party had won all five assembly seats in the recent polls. The north Bengal region has been witnessing the Gorkhaland agitation since the 1980s.
The saffron party has a strong support base in north Bengal. The only opposition party in the Bengal Assembly, the BJP has been working to expand its support base in Jangalmahal which was once part of the Maoist corridor.