STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 6 January
Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP) has decided to felicitate the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee for her service to the cause of the Adivasi people settled in north Bengal, particularly in the Dooars. Taking cue from the Lepchas having accorded her a felicitation, they have decided to honour her at a programme at Nagrakata in the Dooars on 25 February in thankful recognition of the state government&’s announcement for setting Department of Tribal Development, ABAVP state president, Birsa Tirkey said. “The CM has already confirmed her participation,” he added.
Mr Tirkey further said they had met her at Nabanna on 18 December to thank her for the formation of the separate department for Adivasi people and notification for the constitution of Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC). “The Chief minister agreed to our proposal and the following day she confirmed,” he said. According to the observers, the ruling party would reap handsome electoral dividends out of the bonhomie with the mainstream Adivasi outfit in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from both Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar seats. Notably, a section of the rebel ABAVP leaders, including Sukra Munda, had joined the Trinamul Congress recently. Others from the rebel camp are likely to follow suit.
However, Mr Tirkey has adopted a soft approach regarding the rebels, keeping the doors open for them to rejoin the mainstream outfit. “The ABAVP has not cancelled the general membership of Sukra Munda, who was suspended for anti-organisational activities,” he said. Sources said members of Progressive Tea Workers’ Union affiliated to ABAVP, being controlled by the rebel leader, John Barla and his close aide, Sukra Munda, would meet on 18 January to decide a new leader of the union.