New Delhi: CPI(M) on Monday said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was "playing with fire" in the way she was tackling the Gorkhaland issue and claimed she was "incapable" of understanding ground realities in some troubled parts of the state.
"It seems she is incapable of understanding the ground realities and the difference between Jangalmahal and the hill areas (of North Bengal). An economic package and some infrastructure development can bring some visible changes in the former, but in Darjeeling, one has to take into account the ethnic factors entwined in the whole issue.
"It seems the Chief Minister is oblivious of it. She is playing with fire. We can only hope that it doesn`t burn her and the rest of the state," CPI(M) Politburo member and Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Surjya Kanta Mishra told PTI.
He accused Banerjee of first "playing cosy" with Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) for "petty political gains", then going for a tri-partite accord in July 2011 and "now when GJM ups its demand after Telengana, she gets into a combative mode."
"This kind of flip-flop will never help. The Chief Minister should have never slammed the doors on dialogue. You can`t abruptly stop talking," Mishra, who was here to attend CPI(M) Central Committee meeting, said.
He asserted that there was no other way for the state government than to hold a tripartite dialogue with the agitators, involving the Centre.
"Moreover, an all-party meeting on the issue, which we have been demanding for long, should be convened with all stakeholders urgently to discuss the prevailing situation," he said.
Mishra, whose party has been opposed to the creation of a
separate state of Gorkhaland, said it was not a pragmatic idea to have a state where there were only three sub-divisions and not a single district.
"A separate state is never a viable option," he said while referring to the need for sustaining the economy in the hill region and the strategic importance of Darjeeling vis-a- vis international borders.
"But the Trinamool government as well as the Centre, where the TMC was a coalition partner then, should have understood this before including the word Gorkhaland (in Gorkhaland Territorial Administration or GTA) and acknowledging the demand for a separate state while passing an Act in the Assembly. We had opposed those provisions of GTA Act, but the government was adamant.
"And now, stopping all talks or negotiations with the agitators, the Chief Minister is only stoking fire. The Hills are not smiling back to her," the CPI(M) leader said.
Regarding the recent panchayat polls in West Bengal, Misra said the Left`s gains, mainly in the gram panchayat and panchayat samiti tiers, were "in those areas where Trinamool had won hands down in 2011 Assembly polls".
"This will help us to continue our work closely with people," he said.
On these polls in the Jangalmahal area, he said that in one-third of the total seats, Trinamool Congress won unopposed or rigged the election and even the counting process.
"The results from the remaining two-third seats clearly show that there has been no fundamental shift towards the Left or any other political party," Mishra acknowledged.