State demands split of BJP Bengal
The BJP state appears to be divided over demands to separate at least two West Bengal states, with top state leader Rahul Sinha saying on Sunday that a “plot to divide Bengal must not be continued” .
His remarks came a day after the party’s state chairman, Dilip Ghosh, backed feelings for the separated states, saying they were not unfair. One such demand was raised by BJP MP for Alipurduars and Union Minister John Barla, who wants a state that includes the districts of North Bengal.
Speaking to reporters on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, Sinha said the party had no position on the issue. He added: “Rabindranath Tagore launched Raksha Bandhan to protest the partition of Bengal. Since then, the occasion has had historical and cultural values. It has political and geographic significance as the occasion was celebrated to keep the people and the province united. A conspiracy to divide Bengal is not to be sustained. There is no question of dividing the state because there is no such question. There is also no national or state level policy to divide the state. Our party does not have a position to divide the state either. Bengal will remain as it is today.
On Saturday, Dilip Ghosh blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “maladministration” for emerging demands for separate states in North Bengal and the Junglemahal region, which was previously dominated by Maoists. With Barla at his side, the head of the state’s BJP said: “Today, if the people of Junglemahal and North Bengal want separate states, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will have to shoulder his responsibilities… The situation is the same at Junglemahal. Why do women have to sell sal leaves for two square meals a day? Why do people from there go to Jharkhand, Odisha and Gujarat to work? Now if people have made such requests [for separate states] so it’s not unfair.
Referring to the contrasting remarks by BJP leaders on the issue, Minister of State Firhad Hakim said on Sunday: “To meet our political interests, we are bringing ruin to the country by making such demands. If we start dividing the country into small pieces, it will be ruined. This is the same reason why the country was divided into two nations after independence. On this occasion of Raksha Bandhan, we no longer want a division of the country or its states.