Mamata calls for keeping Bengal united

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 10:33 hrs

Siliguri: A day after GJM chief Bimal Gurung threatened to launch a 'militant' stir for Gorkhaland, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today called for keeping West Bengal united and countered his charge that her government was bent upon adopting a divide and rule policy for the hills.

"The government's stand is very clear. We will work for keeping the state united. We are for a united Bengal," Mamata told reporters after a meeting with members of the Darjeeling district Trinamool Congress here.

On Gurung's charge that the government was pursuing a "divide and rule" policy for the hills after she proposed development councils for the Lepchas and Buddhists, she said, "We are for overall development of Darjeeling. We will not resort to divide and rule and I believe the GJM will also not go to that extent."

Seeking to downplay Gurung's threat of a 'militant' agitation, she said, "We will see when it (agitation) happens. We took over reins of the state by taking oath as per Constitution. They (GJM) too are in power in the GTA by taking oath in accordance with Constitution. This is the spirit of responsibility."

She said it was the duty of the administration to take both hard and soft stands depending on the situation.

"I will not be defeated in my job. I am born in Bengal, but my motherland is India," she said.

However, she reminded the audience that the GJM as a political entity could launch a movement and adopt a political programme.

"Everyone loves one's motherland. GJM has given a slogan (for Gorkhaland). They always give such slogans and they think that by doing this their party will survive."

She pointed out that if tourists were not able to come to the hills, the livelihood of the hill people would be at stake. Trade and commerce would be adversely affected.

"Such a situation will not develop. We want that hill people live here in peace and prosperity," the chief minister said.

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