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TMC counters Morcha decision to allow billboards only in Nepali and English

Women sell corn at Chowrastha in Darjeeling
The Trinamul Congress has decided to counter the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's decision to allow billboards only in English and Nepali in the hills and ignore Hindi.
"We have decided to take on the Morcha's decision not to allow billboards in Hindi too. Hindi is our national language and as the nation comes first, we will take this issue with the Prime Minister," said Binny Sharma, Trinamul's spokesperson in the hills.
Sources in Trinamul said the decision to rake up the Hindi issue was an attempt to not only counter the Morcha but also its ally, the BJP.

"The Morcha is an ally of the BJP but by raising an issue close to its electoral constituency, the Trinamul Congress is trying to corner the Morcha and put the BJP on the backfoot in the rest of Bengal," said a political observer
The Morcha's announcement, the sources said, was to counter Mamata Banerjee's alleged decision to make Bengali compulsory in schools despite the chief minister's assurance that the language would be made optional in the hills.
The government decision had given the Morcha an opportunity to revive the Gorkhaland demand, observers said.
Sharma said: "We know that the Morcha is a junior partner of the NDA but we also want to know from the BJP leadership on the stand over the Morcha's decision not to allow Hindi billboards in the region. We believe this is a threat to the Hindi-speaking people of the region. We will take up this issue at the highest level."
Asked about the alleged decision to make Bengali compulsory at schools, Sharma said: "The Morcha just speaks lies. The chief minister has clarified and moreover, there is no government order on Bengali being made compulsory in the hills."
Trinamul insiders in Siliguri today said the state leadership had instructed the hill unit to act in a "sublime and effective manner", unlike the state administration that was all set to act firmly against the Morcha from tomorrow.
"We have been specifically instructed to abstain from any move that can create an opportunity for the Morcha to perpetrate violence," said a Trinamul leader.(TT)

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