The Trinamul Congress today said it will focus on what it called the “failure” of the BJP when it came to development of the Hills in its election campaign.

The decision follows criticism of the TMC election manifesto by Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, who yesterday said that apart from a foreword mention of a development board for the Terai-Dooars region, North Bengal had been completely left out of the TMC vision. “Despite North Bengal being one of the highest revenue generating regions, and Siliguri being the second largest city in West Bengal, TMC government has absolutely ignored to envision the aspirations and developmental needs of the people from here,” Bista had said.

However, TMC leaders today said none of the BJP MPs had worked for the development of the Hills. Taking a dig at Bista, party leaders highlighted his ‘long absence’ in his parliamentary constituency during the coronavirus pandemic last year.

“The Mamata Banerjeeled state government has worked for comprehensive development in the Hills in the last 10 years, though no elected representative of the party was there. It will work for more development, involving the people of the Hills. Though the people elected three BJP MPs, they did not focus on development. The present MP had not been visible, and he had not been in the field to address the sufferings of the people during the pandemic,” said the Darjeeling district Trinamul Congress (Plains) president, Ranjan Sarkar.

Sarkar’s comments came a day after the Binoy Tamang camp of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha decided not to hold any joint election campaign with its ally Trinamul Congress in the Hills.

According to Sarkar, the state government will set up the Terai and Dooars special development board with proportional representation from all local communities.

“Their opinions will be considered with utmost importance,” he added.