To revive its party organisation, the Trinamul Congress in Cooch Behar has started campaigning against the BJP, soon after the MP from the district, Nisith Pramanik, took charge as the Union Minister of State for two departments, including Home.
On the other hand, from commoners to intellectuals and political observers, all feel that the decision to induct two MPs from North Bengal in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet was “politically correct”, keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, and at a time when the BJP failed to dislodge the TMC government in West Bengal in the recently-ended Assembly elections.
However, the BJP has bagged a majority of the Assembly seats in North Bengal districts, including Cooch Behar and Alipurduar. According to a retired police officer, who was posted in different North Bengal districts during his tenure, the TMC leadership is under pressure “politically” after the central leadership of the BJP included the MP from Cooch Behar Nisith Pramanik, who belongs to the Rajbanshi community, and John Barla from the tea belt, the Adivasi leader, who is the MP from Alipurduar district.
Former North Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh, who was handed down defeat by BJP candidate Mihir Goswami in the last Assembly polls, has been criticizing the BJP for selecting Mr Pramanik as the MoS, and has highlighted the several police cases slapped against Mr Pramanik.
On the other hand, other TMC leaders have also raised the educational qualification issue of both the Union Ministers of state from North Bengal.
“When Rabri Devi, the wife of Lalu Prasad Yadav, can become the Chief Minister of Bihar, educational qualification does not matter,” a political observer, however, said.
“From the village Nisith Pramanik hails from to BJP supporters as well as common people in the region, even those belonging to other political parties, have expressed happiness over the Cooch Behar MP’s performance and inclusion as Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s deputy,” the observer added.
“Finally, North Bengal got two Union Ministers. Although Ministers of State, the departments are very important. Congratulations to John Barla and Nishith Pramanik,” said a noted educationist in the region, Nikhilesh Ray, on his Facebook post.
Mr Ray, who is associated with the Bengali department at the North Bengal University, added: “North Bengal cannot be too vocal about its needs and demands. But you need to know, North Bengal is expecting a lot of positive steps from you; which is normal.”
“You can fulfill it, you will have a big role to play in removing the scars of deprivation and underdevelopment from North Bengal and it also has a great confidence and belief. Hopefully, the dignity of faith will be preserved,” said Mr Ray.