Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday issued an ultimatum to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and gave a 72-hour deadline to withdraw their indefinite bandh. The Chief Minister said strong action will be taken against the disrupters if the bandh was not withdrawn. Normal life has been disrupted as markets and educational institutions remain closed.
"Enough is enough. I have tolerated for eight days. I am very rough and tough. I am giving 72 hours to withdraw the bandh. Do not force me to take strong action," Banerjee told a
press conference at the state secretariat.
She said the state government is ready for talks if indefinite bandh is withdrawn in Darjeeling, but there will be no division of the state. "Darjeeling is part and parcel of West Bengal. Darjeeling is my heart. There
can be no division of the state based on race," she added.
The minister claimed that the GJM had become unpopular in the hills for forcibly enforcing the bandh which was leading to harassment and hardship to the people there and quoted Calcutta High Court order that has declared the bandh unconstitutional.
She held political leaders responsible for the bandh and said, "The bandh is being forced on people because some political leaders have become unpopular in the hills and are trying to gain political mileage from the disruption." "I am also asking some central government agencies not to interfere in the state's business. Allow us to maintain law and order, peace and prosperity of the state," Banerjee said.
With Darjeeling having one Lok Sabha seat where BJP leader Jaswant Singh is the current MP, she warned that no one should should go for an understanding with the GJM eyeing the
"Do not try to play mischief for one seat. Do not try break (the state)," she said.
GJM leaders also met P Chidamabaram and Rahul Gandhi to demand statehood for Gorkhaland.
The demand for smaller states has gained momentum ever since the Congress Working Commmittee has endorsed the decision of Telangana. There have been demands for statehood of Gorkhaland.
(with inputs from PTI)