Division in the BJP's West Bengal unit over a separate Gorkhaland state in the hills in north Bengal spread over Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong became evident within the Assembly on Monday afternoon during the debate on a motion against attempts to divide the state.
While the motion was passed by majority with the BJP neither supporting or opposing, the differences in the party camp over Gorkhaland became evident in course of the debate on the motion.
BJP legislator from Kurseong Bishnu Prasad Sharma demanded a referendum for the people of the hills to decide whether they want to remain associated with West Bengal or want a separate Gorkhaland state.
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"The people of the hills supported me for this Gorkhaland issue only. There is an urgent requirement for a referendum to know the pulse of the people of the hills. The state government should make an attempt to know the sentiments of the hill people with the help of the Union government and the Election Commission of India," he said.
However, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the goal of his party is "One India-Best India" and "One West Bengal-Best West Bengal."
At the same time, he described the motion as being brought as a part of political agenda. "The panchayat elections are due in the next few months. There are Lok Sabha polls in 2024. No one is raising the issue of the division of the state now. The allegations against us that we are trying to divide the state are completely untrue," he said.
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Participating in the debate, Minister of State for Irrigation and Waterways and North Bengal Development, Sabina Yasmin alleged that the BJP leaders and elected representatives are resorting to double talk in this matter. "When they are in north Bengal, they speak of the division of the state. But the same leaders speak exactly the opposite when they are in south Bengal. This is called politics of hypocrisy," Yasmin said.
The motion was moved by Minister of State for Education Satyajit Burman who said that some divisive forces are always trying to divide the state. "We strongly condemn such divisive attempts and are determined to oppose the same," he said.