BJP trying to divide Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Monday that the BJP government at the Centre cannot accept defeat and it is now trying to divide the state.

The Chief Minister’s criticism came at a time when several BJP MPs and MLAs have decided to request the Central government to declare North Bengal as a Union Territory.

“We have never differentiated between North Bengal and South Bengal. West Bengal is West Bengal and there is no difference between these two parts of the state. We have tried to give equal importance to both the parts of Bengal and developed them equally.

“I would even like to say that in some cases, development in North Bengal has been more than that of South Bengal. We will not allow the Centre to divide the state in any way,” Banerjee said in a press conference on Monday.

The Chief Minister’s allegation came after BJP MLAs and MPs held a meeting on Sunday evening and decided to appeal to the Centre to declare five districts — Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong — as UT.

“There has been a lot of infiltration from China and Bangladesh in this region and nobody is safe. Even the people’s representatives have to take security cover because of this situation. In this condition, we would appeal to the Centre to declare these districts of North Bengal as a Union Territory,” a BJP MP present in the meeting told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Alleging that the central BJP leaders are behind this ‘conspiracy’, the Chief Minister said, “BJP cannot accept defeat and so it is trying to sell Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong. We will never allow this to happen. BJP should stop this divide and rule policy and concentrate on its job.”

Referring to BJP’s policy in Kashmir, Banerjee said, “What they did in Kashmir they are trying to do here. What is happening in Kashmir? Is it democracy? You don’t allow anyone to speak. You keep the leaders under house arrest and throttle the voice of the people. Are they trying to do the same thing here? We will never allow this.”

According to a senior Trinamool Congress leader, the BJP is trying to do this for a long time and even during the election campaign, it said that if it comes to power, it would divide North Bengal and South Bengal.

“Now that they have been discarded by the people, they are trying to materialise their plan in a roundabout manner. This is a dangerous sign and we should all stand up and protest against this injustice,” the leader said.

“We are scared of the situation in North Bengal. China along with some other neighbouring countries is trying to destroy the sovereignty of the country and nobody is safe in this region. The state government is taking a partisan attitude and undermining the general feeling of the people of this region.

“We have the support of 2.28 crore people and we will initiate a movement so that North Bengal can become a Union Territory. Only the Central government can save the people and we will request the Centre to think about it seriously,” a senior BJP leader from North Bengal said.