Mamata wants people of Darjeeling hills to be happy



Siliguri: Despite political differences between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and her government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she wished everyone in the Darjeeling hills and other parts of the state 'to be happy and stay together'.

Accompanied by North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb and Trinamool Congress General Secretary Mukul Roy, the Chief Minister is here on a 3-day visit of North Bengal.

Though Banerjee refused to answer questions on the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) being run by the GJM, she said, "There can be political differences, but I wish that everybody in the hills are happy. Not just the hills, I wish everyone in other parts of the state are happy and they stay together."

When people stayed together, economic development take place, and if tourists get a 'wrong message', they will not come to Darjeeling and the economy of the hills will be affected, she told reporters at Bagdogra airport here.

The cordial relation between the GJM and the state government turned sour after a section of GJM workers shouted slogans demanding Gorkhaland at a government function in Darjeeling on January 29 where both Banerjee and GJM chief Bimal Gurung were present.

The state government did not remove Soumitra Mohan from the post of Principal Secretary of GTA as demanded by the GJM and set up a Lepcha Development Council despite GJM's stiff opposition.

The GJM also alleged interference by the state government in the functioning of GTA and even met President Pranab Mukherjee over the issue.

The Chief Minister also refused to comment on the issue of panchayat election. The state government is virtually on a collision course with the State Election Commission over holding of the polls.

PTI