Siliguri: In a political blame game, ruling and opposition party leaders in West Bengal on Thursday blamed each other for instigating the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is agitating for a separate Gorkhaland in Darjeeling.
North Bengal Development minister Goutam Deb accused the CPI(M) of instigating the GJM of creating trouble in the hills on its demand for a separate state.
"CPI(M) is instigating and helping the GJM in its agitation from the plains," he said.
He alleged that senior CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya was providing fillip to the GJM by demanding that those arrested be released on bail.
Deb accused him of playing divisive politics at the cost of the territorial integrity of the state.
Denying Deb`s charges, Bhattacharya, a former Left Front minister, counter alleged that it was the ruling Trinamool Congress which had close ties with the hill party when it started its agitation.
He alleged that when Mamata Banerjee and Deb were in the opposition they had held a number of meetings with GJM supremo Bimal Gurung and his party colleagues.
"Steps being taken by the government now to break the agitation will prove counterproductive," Bhattacharya said about the arrest of several top leaders of GJM, including Benoy Tamang.
Questioning why they were being arrested in old cases, he said that in the tripartite GTA agreement, it was mentioned that old cases against the party leaders would be withdrawn.
"Those who have been arrested should be released on bail," Bhattacharya demanded.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Pradip Bhattacharya opposed the aggressive posture of the Mamata Banerjee government and said that discussions would help normalise the situation.
"We do not want division of Bengal. But creating pressure will not solve the problem and only aggravate it," Bhattacharya said here.
He demanded that an all-party meeting be called by the ruling party to discuss the issue.