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Mamata in kalimpong announced to create four more development boards

CM Mamata Banerjee in Kalimpong Mela Ground
Mamata Banerjee did what she has been doing systematically for the past five years in the Darjeeling hills - trying to weaken the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on its turf.
Going ahead with her strategy of creating beneficiary groups in the hills - already there are 10 boards for Lepcha, Tamang, Bhutia, Sherpa, Mangar, Rai, Kami, Damai, Sarki and Limbu communities - Mamata today announced the setting up of four more development boards.
The beneficiaries would be people belonging to the Newar, Bhujel (both Other Backward Classes) and Khas communities and minorities living in the hills.

The strategy of setting up boards, which the Morcha leadership has often criticised by calling it an attempt to divide the hill population along identity lines, has given Trinamul a foothold in an area where the party did not have a presence four years ago.
The fact that Trinamul has become a force to reckon with in the hills was clear today as the roads leading to Kalimpong had more tricolour flags of the party than Morcha flags. Although some Morcha supporters were camping in Kalimpong, barely a kilometre from Mamata's meeting venue, with placards demanding a separate Gorkhaland state, the chief minister made it clear in her speech that she was expecting a change in the hills where the Morcha is the biggest political force.
"I didn't win in the Lok Sabha (elections). I didn't win in the Assembly (elections).... I keep coming in the hope that you all will change one day to make your Darjeeling better. I will keep waiting till that happens," she said, stressing that she was hopeful of electoral gains in the hills.
At the fifth foundation day programme of the Lepcha Development Board at the Mela Ground here, elections were very much on the chief minister's mind.
"The panchayat and civic polls have not taken place in Darjeeling for a long time.... I am requesting the (state) election commission to start the process so that elections can be held," she said.
The four civic bodies in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik are under the Morcha and their terms are due to end in November 2016. The panchayat elections were last held in May 2000, but since then there has been no consensus among the hill parties - earlier the GNLF and then the Morcha - and the state government on how to implement the three-tier panchayat system in the region.
Mamata today launched an attack on the GTA without naming the Morcha that controls the autonomous body. "Every time there is an election, you will start politicking and rolling out various lists of demands.... Then, you will not do anything for four-and-a-half years," Mamata said.
Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, said the party was ready for any election. "We are ready for all polls. The chief minister should ensure election to the three tier panchayat as agreed in the GTA agreement," he said.
The chief minister played a sentimental card for the local population when she claimed how her government was pushing for making Kalimpong subdivision a district.
Though Jana Andolan Party president Harka Bahadur Chhetri had tried to champion the cause and Mamata had earlier given him credit for being the prime mover, she chose a different line today. "Nobody told me. I on my own along with my administration decided to make Kalimpong a new district," she said.
Sources in Trinamul said that though Chhetri had a good equation with the ruling party leadership, there were some problems brewing between him and some local leaders of late. "Our party is making major inroads in the hills and there is no point giving credit to someone else," said a Trinamul insider.
The chief minister will be present at the first anniversary of the formation of the Tamang Board tomorrow and sources said that she would make some more announcements at the meeting to deal more blows to the Morcha.
Additional reporting by Rajeev Ravidas in Kalimpong and Vivek Chhetri in Darjeeling(TT)

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