BJP supporting Gorkhaland only to get votes: Congress

April 8th, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, April 8 (IANS) The Observer for the Congress party for West Bengal lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for nominating party heavyweight Jaswant Singh from Darjeeling with a promise to consider Gorkhaland.
Iterating that the Congress wanted greater autonomy for the hill people, All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer for West Bengal K. Keshava Rao alleged that the BJP had taken the support of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) - fighting for a separate state of Gorkhaland out of parts of North Bengal - only to garner votes.

“Does Jaswant Singh want Bengal to be divided? In no way can it be supported,” Rao said, and pointed out that the BJP’s declaration came at a time when tripatite talks were on in Delhi to solve the Darjeeling problem.

Finding contradiction in the GJM-BJP tie-up, Rao asked whether the hill outfit accepted the saffron party’s policy of cultural nationalism.

At the same time, Rao asked Singh: “You do not believe in separate racial identities. So are you at ease with the cultural identity of the Gorkhas?”

Rao said there was no similarity between the state’s hill areas and the Telengana region in Andhra Pradesh where also an agitation for a separate state was continuing.

“The Telengana region has about three crore (thirty million) people, while the population in the Darjeeling hills is only seven million. Moreover, Darjeeling is on the border of West Bengal which Telengana is not. The demography of the two areas is also completely different,” he said.

Trying to draw the support of the Christians, who comprise 32 percent of the Gorkha population, Rao wondered if Singh was comfortable with the Sangh Parivar’s atrocities on the community in Orissa and Karnataka.

“The GJM chief (Bimal Gurung) says the Gorkhas need to be represented in parliament and so they are supporting him. But how can a man from Rajasthan represent people living in West Bengal?” he asked.

Rao said Congress president Sonia Gandhi would visit the state April 27 to campaign for Congress-Trinamool alliance candidates in Siliguri, Malda and Jangipur.

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