Darjeeling: Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee
was today given a rousing welcome by supporters of the Gorkha
Janmukti Morcha as she arrived on a two-day visit here for
hearing "problems" of the Hills.
Her convoy, which started from New Jalpaiguri railway
station amid tight security, was greeted by hundreds of GJM
supporters lined along Hill Cart Road leading to Darjeeling.
Cut-outs and welcome banners were prominently displayed
all along the route.
Mamata, who had on various occasions expressed her
reservations against division of Bengal, is scheduled to
announce a few railway projects and meet representatives of
The visit is significant in the light of GJM`s sustained
agitation for a separate state to be carved out of West Bengal
and support from the Hills is crucial to decide the fate of
her candidates in three constituencies in the coming Assembly
North Bengal, a Marxist citadel till the other day, has
of late developed chinks in the armour and Mamata is
determined to utilise it to strengthen her chances to come to
power in the state.
Recently in the civic elections, the Congress-Trinamool
Congress combine had ousted the Left Front from the Siliguri
In a by-election at Kalchini in the Dooars, the combine
had defeated the Left Front candidate.
Mamata said that she had come to the Hills not as the
Centre`s representative, but to see the ground situation. "I
love the Darjeeling Hills and its people. I want to hear their
problems from their own mouths."