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Matua leader opposed to separate North Bengal state

Notably, BJP MP John Barla had first raised the issue of a separate state, which he said was the people’s demand following post-poll violence and other issues, including underdevelopment.

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

Trinamul Congress leader and former MP Mamata Bala Thakur, who is also associated with the All India Matua Mahasangha (AIMM), has been campaigning against the demand for separate state of North Bengal in this region since 23 September.

According to Ms Thakur, AIMM members would resist at all cost plans to have Bengal divided. “There is no question of underdevelopment during the tenure of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress, as compared to the Left Front that ruled the state for 34 years. The plan to divide West Bengal was hatched politically in the name of a section of people,” Ms Thakur told reporters here yesterday.

Notably, BJP MP John Barla had first raised the issue of a separate state, which he said was the people’s demand following post-poll violence and other issues, including underdevelopment. Sources, meanwhile, said that Ms Thakur was visiting North Bengal to review the AIMM’s organizational activities at a time when a group of members have allegedly been working for the BJP in north Bengal.

Ms Thakur mentioned two names, Ranjit Sarkar from Malda and another Ranjan Majumdar from Aambari, and said: “I don’t know them. They were no longer with the AIMM and its Welfare Board though they have been claiming themselves as members. We have lodged an FIR with the police against them.”

She pointed out that both the men had been working for the BJP during the Lok Sabha and the last Assembly elections. According to her, Mr Sarkar and Mr Majumdar both belong to BJP MP Shantanu Thakur’s camp. She demanded that the police arrest them immediately.

According to Ms Thakur, Dwijendra Adhikari, a resident of Malda, is in charge of the AIMM in north Bengal. Matua Mahasangha in North Bengal, under the leadership of Mani Mohan Biswas, has decided to go alone, keeping equidistant from both the Trinamul Congress and the BJP at a time when AIMM leaders, under the guidance of Mamata Bala Thakur, has been working to unite all Matua people in North Bengal.

Asked to comment, Mani Mohan Biswas said: “We are not with Mamata Bala Thakur and not even with Shantanu Thakur, because they are using members of the Matua Mahasangha politically. They should not divide Matua Mahasangha into two camps politically.”

“After the visit of Mamata Bala Thakur, we would convene a meeting at Kawakhali in Siliguri, inviting leaders from North Bengal. We think both Mamata Bala Thakur and Shantanu Thakur should contest elections under the banner of Matua Mahasangha.

As members elected by the Matua people, they should extend support to a political party,” Mr Biswas said. A total of 42 lakh Matua people live in North Bengal, it is said.