statesman news service
Kolkata, 3 September
Giving the GJMM a clear signal that she is bent on building a constituency of her own in the Darjeeling Hills to blunt the Hill-based party’s weapon of statehood, the chief minister, Miss Mamata Banerjee today went all out to shower praise on the Lepcha community, universally acknowledged as the autochthones of the Darjeeling Hills, while charging the GJMM with declaring a war against the poor and the weaker communities.
Two main themes ~ the indivisibility of Bengal and development largesse for the Lepcha community ~ dominated the speech she gave at Mela Ground in Kalimpong after being bestowed with the highest Lepcha honour, ‘Bestower of Good Fortune’, by the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association.
Amidst applause, she said the Lepchas are the real aboriginals of the Hills. “But they have never raised a cry for Lepchaland. They have borne misery for years, but this has not goaded them to demand separation from Bengal. This is the reason why I love and adore you,” she said.
In an acid-dripping attack on the GJMM, she said that the party is goading the poor to bear the cross of the statehood through starvation and joblessness while keeping themselves and their wards comfortably placed. “They are sending their children to some foreign countries for study while keeping ordinary children from attending studies. How can these people understand the anguish of the common people?” she asked.
Meanwhile, GJMM chief Mr Gurung said in a Facebook post: “I was saddened watching the podium which was a show of the Trinamul Congress colours ~ blue and white. As far as I know Lepcha people use the traditional colours maroon and blue. My dear Lepcha brothers and sisters, please don’t change your colour.”