The hill unit of the Trinamul Congress postponed padayatras which were to start from 10 places today following a suggestion from Mamata Banerjee that party leaders in the region come up with "simple creative" ideas to connect with rural masses, sources in the organisation said.
Trinamul (hills) had announced on October 18 its biggest political exercise ever by holding 10 processions from across the hills from today and a public meeting at Darjeeling Motor Stand where all the marches would converge on November 11.
A source in Trinamul (hills) said: "During a meeting between chief minister Mamata Banerjee and hill Trinamul leaders, there was a suggestion from her that simple creative programmes be organised in the hills so that the party's message could be easily communicated and understood by the common people."
"She was not too enthused with the padayatra plan and obliquely said such programmes had been undertaken by other political parties in the hills. So, we decided to defer the padayatras and the public meeting," added the source.
From October last year, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung had walked for more than 60 days covering three hill subdivisions. The GNLF, too, had organised a similar march across the hills.
The Trinamul leaders from the hills had met Mamata a fortnight after the announcement of the processions.
N.B.Khawash, the spokesman for Trinamul (hills), today said the party would now start a " pahar bachao (save the hills)" campaign.
"We will hold a meeting of Trinamul block committees for two days from tomorrow to discuss our programmes.... We are looking at organising programmes like going to the villages, telling people that a road should be constructed from this point to another and asking why a particular work was stopped midway. We are looking at exposing such projects at the grassroots level," said Khawash.
He said the padayatras had been postponed. "We will start a pahar bachao campaign and hold the padayatras later. But, the public meeting will be held soon," said Khawash.
The Trinamul leader said the public meeting had been postponed because of the engagement of state leaders in bypolls in Cooch Behar and Midnapore.(TT)