Bengal BJP divided over demand of division of state

Kolkata:- A day after state BJP President Dilip Ghosh verbally supported Union Minister John Barla’s demand of separate statehood for North Bengal, the state BJP leadership is divided over the issue with some of the frontline leaders openly criticising the demand.

Senior leaders like Locket Chatterjee and Rahul Sinha spoke strongly against the North-South divide of the state. Chatterjee, who is also an MP from Hooghly said, “We never want a bifurcation of the state. The culture of Bengal is different. We live in harmony and Bengal is very dear to each one of us. Bengal will remain Bengal from north to south and east to west.”

Chatterjee, who took part in drawing portraits of Rabindranath Tagore and sang his songs on Sunday in a programme in Hooghly said, “Rabindranath celebrated ‘Rakhi Bandhan’. Those who have Rabindranath in their hearts and minds and their hearts and minds can never divide Bengal”.

Union Minister and MP from Alipurduar John Barla has been demanding for a separate state for quite a long time but the issue took a controversial turn when state BJP President Dilip Ghosh, a couple of days before, said, “The entire responsibility of this lies with Mamata Banerjee. 75 years after Independence why do the people of North Bengal have to go other states for jobs, education and healthcare facilities? In Jangalmahal the situation is the same. Why the women in Jangalmahal will have to depend on sal and tendu leaves for livelihood. Why do they have to go to Odisha, Ranchi and Gujarat for jobs”.

“If they (the BJP MPs) have raised such demands (Bifurcation of the state), then it is not unjustified,” he added. The remarks of Ghosh triggered debate across the state including the state BJP itself.

National secretary of BJP Rahul Sinha without naming anyone said, “Those who want to change the name of the state and divide the state geographically are insulting Rabindranath Tagore. There is still a section of people in the state who want to divide Bengal,” he said. Sinha narrated how Rabindranath started Rakhi Bandhan in October 1905 to protest against the bifurcation of Bengal.

“This is the time we should remind ourselves of the thoughts of Rabindranath. We should take the message at the state and national level and make people aware of the significance of Rakhi,” he added.

Trinamool Rajya Sabha chief whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said, “BJP has encouraged fissiparous elements to divide Bengal after suffering a humiliating defeat in the recent elections.”