GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Bounty in state bond wrapper

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Bounty in state bond wrapper – so the “State-within-a-State” idea does hold political credibility for the ‘here and now’ to maintain peace, progress and prosperity for the region as suggested by our Hon’ble MP Stalwart Jaswant Singh ?!!

Mamata (Didi) on the embarrassing National Heritage Toy Train that hardly ever ran efficiently - now on tour in Darjeeling with assurances galore, but not strangely only before the WB assembly elections for the Chief Minister's chair - wonder how long ago she had been appointed Railways Minister with no earlier concern for Darjeeling & Dooars, just another sincere political ruse to garner political votes ?!! (Darjeeling Times)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, Sept. 27: Mamata Banerjee today announced a bouquet of projects for the Darjeeling hills including a secretariat in the hill town, accepting almost all the demands made by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha — even adding to them — but insisting that “the hills and the plains work” together.

She underlined her stand to keep the state united — a message aimed at both the hills and her critics in the plains — while accepting most of the development demands of the Morcha (see chart).

Hunger strikers on the 11th day yesterday - ready to die for a just cause, and strangely no empathy nor acknowledgement from Bengal's future Chief Minister ?!! (Darpan)

Addressing a gathering at the Darjeeling station this afternoon, Mamata, who was on a two-day visit to the hills, said: “Right now I am only looking after one small place (railway ministry). If I happen to be in a position to give more, I will give more. Trust me as I trust you also. I am ready to give my blood for you.”

But aware of the adverse fallout that any hint of support for a separate Gorkha state could have on her vote bank in the plains, Mamata made it clear that the people of the hills and the plains would have to work together for Bengal.

“There should be no fighting, no divide between the hills and the plains,” Mamata said at the meet, packed with Morcha supporters.

The crowd at a function attended by Mamata in Darjeeling. (Suman Tamang) - packed by Morcha supporters for political consideration for the here and now, not to be forgotten at a later stage ?!!

“The people of the hills and the plains have to work together. I am ready to negotiate for the hill people at any forum. Today, in Darjeeling, as a Bengali I am a minority, but I will be a majority in Calcutta. Similarly, there are other minorities in the state like Biharis and Punjabis. But this is a heritage of the country and we believe in integrity. The hill people also believe in integrity. No one wants violence.”

Mamata said she had her “own plans” to make the hills and the plains interact in harmony.

“I have a lot of idea for Darjeeling in my mind but since I am not in a position right now, it is all locked up in my brain. But when I get the place (the state government) I will tell you all the ideas. A secretariat of the state government will be set up in Darjeeling.”

In making her announcement of a secretariat in Darjeeling, Mamata has gone a step ahead of Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who as chief minister used to shift his office to the hills for a brief period every summer.

“Siddhartha Shankar Ray had picked up from where the British had left off so as to strengthen the ties between the administration and the common people in the hills,” said former PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharjee, who used to be the minister of state for labour in Ray’s cabinet.

“Every summer senior officials of the chief minister’s secretariat would shift to the hills for a brief period, which could be from a week to a fortnight, sometimes even longer, and even cabinet meetings would be held there.”

Although some attributed the shift to the cooler climes in the hills, others pointed out that the move did ensure interaction between the local populace and some wings of the administration.

However, no permanent secretariat used to be set up in Ray’s days, which Mamata has promised to do in case she becomes the next chief minister.

The lieutenant governor of Bengal used to shift his office to Darjeeling every summer during the British Raj.

Promising a “special package” for Darjeeling, Mamata said she would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the Commonwealth Games and request him to put the package in place.

“Here, the people have suffered a lot but they should not suffer any longer,” Mamata said. “Bundelkhand, Telengana, Darjeeling, Jangal Mahal, all these places need a special package.” (nothing more *?!!)

She also assured the hill people that they would be entitled to their rights.

“People here are agitating for jobs, industry, development and creation of better infrastructure. The people are agitating for their rights and you will definitely get your rights.” (even identity and right to self governance *?!!)

The railway minister opted not to take any sides while dealing with issues concerning the hill’s political parties. While she maintained that she wanted the murderers of ABGL leader Madan Tamang to be arrested, she also backed the demand that “an arrested person” should be produced in court. She was referring to the Morcha’s demand that Nickole Tamang, a prime accused in Tamang murder, who allegedly fled from CID custody, be produced in court. The Morcha suspects that Nickole died in custody and the government was trying to cover it up.

It was only the CPM which was in Mamata’s line of fire. “While coming up from Siliguri I read a few CPM posters which said that I was going to the hills to foment trouble. But it is they who foment trouble everywhere.”

In Calcutta, CPM state secretary Biman Bose today said Mamata is “hobnobbing”’ with the Morcha that was demanding statehood for Darjeeling was proof of her party’s tilt towards a division of Bengal.

“We now find the Trinamul leader visiting the hills to hold talks with the Morcha,” Bose said today. “All this makes it clear that the Trinamul Congress is in favour of a division of Bengal.”

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said his party was “happy” with Mamata’s announcements.

Mamata promises to revive British Colonialism in Darjeeling with a Writer’s flavour – Bengal systems with a British tag, only a fish curry ruse, not quite the answer expected for Darjeeling & Dooars from the next CM to be ?!!

Mamata with Gorkha girls - wouldn't she look wonderful in a 'dhaka chowbandhi cholo' too ?!! (TT)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH FRONT PAGE

Darjeeling, Sep 27: Mamata Banerjee has promised to revive a British-era decentralisation gesture in Darjeeling and appealed to the people of the plains and the hills to work together.

She said in Darjeeling on Monday that a secretariat of the state government would be set up there when she “is in a position to give more”.

The lieutenant governor of Bengal used to shift his office to Darjeeling every summer during the British Raj.

When Siddhartha Shankar Ray was chief minister, his office was also shifted to the hills for a brief period every summer.

Mamata announced a package of railway projects for the region, fulfilling most of the “development” demands made by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Careful but determined to woo – Mamata key to hearts: Public, Nepali & salute – but when reality really sinks in, the ‘quit this area’ and ‘allow us our identity’ movement begins ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, Sept. 27: Mamata Banerjee today did what she is best at: she worked the crowd to their delight.

Starting with, the “public” is the most important, and that the hill people had the “glaze” of the Kanchenjungha, Mamata had the crowd cheering her as she listed the projects that she had on her mind for the hills.

The Trinamul Congress chief’s first move to “reach out” to the people occurred at Darjeeling railway station this afternoon when she broke the security cordon and walked across the stage to clear a posse of security and media personnel.

“I think you are obstructing my view of the public,” she said much to the delight of the 1,000-odd people assembled there.

She immediately took the microphone and directed Union minister Mukul Roy to make arrangements so that the chairs on the dais were pushed back further to make space for the dancers. “I can understand the stage is small and I apologise for the inconvenience,” she said directing the media personnel who were obstructing the public’s view to come up to the stage and “stay still and quiet here”.

Mamata gifted Rs 500 to a group of Bhailo dancers according to hill tradition. During Diwali, Bhailo performers visit houses where people give them money as a goodwill gesture.

The end of an early Diwali and two more dances, Mamata struck the chord, and rightly so in Nepali. “Mato mero atyantai pyaro / Pahar mero sapna / Darjeeling ko bhai bhaini haru ramro rahun / Theyi cha mero kamana (My land is my love and the hills are my dream. My best wishes to the brothers and sisters of Darjeeling).

“I am learning Nepali and this is what I could learn within a day. I need to come here frequently,” she added promising to return to the hills after two-three months again.

She sealed the hill bond when she offered a “salute” to the members of the Gorkha Regiment.

Before announcing her intention to provide jobs to the families of eight Kargil martyrs and special preferences for ex-servicemen for jobs in the railways, Mamata said: “I salute their achievement and contributions to their nation.”

“We are proud of Darjeeling and I love Darjeeling,” she kept repeating. In fact, she used at least eight qualifying words in one sentence to describe the hill people in English. “The youths of Darjeeling have great potential. They have integrity, compassion, loyalty, honesty, sincerity, devotion, commitment and credibility. You have the glaze one finds in the Kanchenjungha,” she said, before promising to set up a “watch factory, soft toy manufacturing units because of suitable weather and invest in IT”.

“There has been no development here,” she said to empathise with the people. “Schools have not been upgraded, teachers have not been recruited, tea industry is in doldrums, there is no electricity, food prices are high, tourism has not been exploited and there is shortage of drinking water.”

Constantly interacting with the crowd, she said: “These are the projects I have announced. Have you understood it fully? Are you happy with these announcements?” she constantly asked.

Someone from the crowd shouted if a sports facility could be set up by the railways. Pat came Mamata’s reply: “Why not? The railways don’t have much vacant land in the hills. We will identify a space and why not, we can always set up a sports facility.”

Around 3pm, Mamata attended an event celebrating World Tourism Day at the Mall and boarded a toy train for her ride to Batasia Loop from where she made off to Siliguri in a car.

Sen hints at hill talks deferment – Bengal’s classic delay tactics, wrongly thinking Mamata’s visit did the trick in changing the GRA psychology ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Sept. 27: Bengal chief secretary Ardhendu Sen today said the tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha scheduled for September 30 in Delhi would “probably” be postponed but did not cite any reason for the postponement.

However, both the state home secretary and the Morcha’s central leadership have not yet received any official intimation about the decision.

“The tripartite meeting which was supposed to be held on September 30 has been probably been postponed. We have, however, no information as to why it is being postponed or the future date when it will be held,” Sen said after inaugurating a multi-facility kiosk at the district magistrate’s office in Jalpaiguri.

In Writers’ Buildings, home secretary Samar Ghosh said he was not aware of the postponement. “It could be, but we have not got any intimation from the Centre about any decision,” Ghosh said. According to sources in the government, Sen is scheduled to hand over charge to Ghosh on September 30 when he retires from service.

Although Sen refused to speak much on the issue, Morcha leaders said they were yet to receive any communication from the Centre. “Only two days are left before the meeting and we have not yet received any formal intimation of such postponement from Delhi,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the party’s media and publicity secretary. “It could be that the present chief secretary (Sen) would retire on that day and would hand over the charge to Ghosh, who usually attends the talks at the bureaucratic-level.”

“We feel the handing over the charge can take place in the morning or in the evening and this issue should not come in the way of holding the talks,” Chhetri said.

The kiosk will help residents receive various data, forms, receipts and certain documents, officials said. “We are initiating the e-governance project from Jalpaiguri and Bankura today and gradually all the districts will be brought under the system,” Sen said.

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