Mamata showcases ‘bhumiputra’ in Darjeeling, 'BJP does not want any development in the Hills'

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling hills for LS poll 2019 campaign
Darjeeling: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday played the son-of-the-soil card dominating the political discourse in the Hills by telling a rally at Darjeeling’s Chowk Bazar that Trinamool-GJM (Binay Tamang faction) had fielded a ‘bhumiputra’ and didn’t fly in any candidate from Delhi or Manipur.
Banerjee also made it clear that while Trinamool was contesting the Darjeeling seat with an ally to bolster the party’s strength in the Lok Sabha, she would reciprocate when her poll partners contest the state assembly polls.

“It is my humble appeal to all of you to elect Amar Singh Rai to Lok Sabha. The local parties will field their candidates in the assembly polls. But Rai’s win will bolster our voice in Lok Sabha,” she said. “Unlike BJP, we do not come here only during elections and run away after it is over. I have been coming to Darjeeling once in every three months. But after the elections, did you see them (BJP) coming? Did they do anything? Did they even think of your well-being?” the CM asked. “Instead, they have been fomenting trouble here. They disturb Darjeeling to reap political benefits.”

Banerjee said they have been clamouring on the ‘bhumiputra’ issue, “but I want to ask you who is Amar Singh Rai? Isn’t he one of your own? Or BJP and Bimal Gurung will also decide what a bhumipurta means? Their candidate has come from Delhi. I heard he is from Manipur”.

Reminding her audience on TMC’s national role, the CM said: “Bimal Gurung is now history. His politics has ended. He had an opportunity to do good for the people of Darjeeling. But he didn’t. We need to send an MP to Delhi to make ourselves heard. We need to win all 42 seats in Bengal. Trinamool Congress will play a significant role in the formation of the next government at the Centre.”

Taking a dig at BJP national president Amit Shah, Banerjee said, “Has the BJP president ever visited the Hills by road? Does he know about the local places? He comes via helicopter, gives a speech and goes away. What has the BJP done for the country for five years? In the name of NRC, they want to drive everyone away. Who are they to decide who will stay and who won’t? Names of 40 lakh people were excluded in the NRC list in Assam. They excluded the names of Gorkhas, Bengalis, Hindus, Muslims, Biharis… everyone. They brought the Citizenship Amendment Bill. We opposed the Bill in Parliament, because of which it could not be passed. Under this Bill, you will lose your citizenship for five years. If you become a foreigner for five years, what will be your future? It is not certain whether you will get citizenship again.”

She said, “We want the identity of Gorkha brothers and sisters to be safeguarded. We want a solution to the issue of Hills.” “My salute to the Gorkha regiment. They are the pride of the country. They have sacrificed their lives for the country, she added.

Reminding people how BJP had failed to work or stand by them during difficult times, Banerjee highlighted her work. “The Hills people asked for a central university but the central government did not do anything. So I set up a state university and also a campus of the Presidency College in Kurseong. Some more educational hubs are also being established,” she added.

'BJP does not want any development in the Hills'
Darjeeling: As the state kick-started the first phase of elections with Cooch Behar and Alipurduar going to polls on Thursday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed a huge rally in Darjeeling and launched a scathing attack on the BJP for not doing any development in the Hills. Darjeeling goes to polls in the second phase of elections on April 18. "The BJP wants unrest in the Hills. They light the fire here and Delhi adds fuel. They do not want development and peace here. People in Delhi (BJP) instigate the problems here. The more the problems, the better are their chances of taking advantage of the situation. The BJP does not want any progress in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik areas. You had elected BJP, now is the time to ask them what have they done in the Hills in the past 10 years. What have they done for Darjeeling," questioned the TMC supremo to which the crowd replied in unison "Nothing."

Banerjee, flanked by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, addressed a mammoth rally at the Darjeeling Motor Stand on Thursday. Both TMC and GJM supporters from Darjeeling and Kalimpong had gathered. "The saffron party's outgoing MP S S Ahluwalia never visited the region after winning the election. The parliamentarian, who fled the Hills, is contesting from Burdwan this time," she claimed. "Now, they (BJP and allies) are saying that they have a Bhumiputra (son of the soil) and that people should vote for him. Then who is Amar Singh Rai? Isn't he a Bhumiputra? Whenever someone is with Bimal Gurung and BJP, he becomes a Bhumiputra and when he is with me, he ceases to be one? What sort of double standard is this? I didn't bring anyone from Delhi," stated Banerjee.

She also added that the Bimal Gurung chapter is closed. "Bimal Gurung had a lot of chance to work for this region. Those who are still with Gurung, you all are not my enemies. You are like my brothers and sisters. I appeal to you to not help them. They (Gurung and his aides) do not love Darjeeling. They will take all the money and go abroad," she retorted.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday played the son-of-the-soil card dominating the political discourse in the Hills by telling a rally at Darjeeling’s Chowk Bazar that Trinamool-GJM (Binay Tamang faction) had fielded a ‘bhumiputra’ and didn’t fly in any candidate from Delhi or Manipur.

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