Darjeeling, 17 Feb 2014: The CPIM today kick-started its Lok Sabha election campaign in the Darjeeling hills by castigating the Trinamool Congress for giving false hopes to the people for its political gains.
After submitting a 13-point demand list to the assistant labour commissioner here, the CPM trade union – the Darjeeling District Chiya Kaman Majdoor Union (DDCKMU), organised a public meeting at Chowk Bazaar in town.
Former Rajya Sabha MP and CPM leader Saman Pathak said, “Mamata Banerjee says Darjeeling is smiling, but this is far from true. Only inauguration and foundation-stone laying ceremonies are not development. Real development can come only with ‘rajnaitik samadhan’, but this is completely absent in the hills. The TMC is using the innocent people of the hills to leverage the general election. I urge everyone not to get swayed by its false promises.”
According to the former legislator, the need of the hour for Darjeeling is to be granted regional autonomy for ushering in overall development.
“At present, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is facing myriad difficulties in functioning because of state government interference. But with regional autonomy, that will not be the case. Besides, regional autonomy would also mean constitutional guarantee,” argued Pathak.
Senior CPM leader Asoke Bhattacharya also launched a scathing attack on the TMC describing it as a dangerous party, one that can go to any level to usurp the people’s democratic rights.
“The chief minister is vindictive and will go to any level to suppress the people’s voice. There is not democracy in Bengal as the TMC uses state machineries to intimidate people. A case in point was the latest round of statehood agitation here, which she termed it as a law and order situation despite it being a political problem,” noted Bhattacharya.
The veteran CPM leader also reached out to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and appealed to it to fight for tea garden workers’ causes and not trust the chief minister.
“The GJM is the largest party here and it must stand up to fight for the workers’ rights. I also urge Bimal Gurung not to trust the CM as she will only use him for the election and discard him later as was the case during the recent agitation,” he alleged.
The CPM will announce its Lok Sabha candidate next month.
“We will make a formal announcement of our party candidate’s name in the first week of March. But one thing is sure this time; we will have a local Nepali candidate and our issues too will be region-based,” said Bhattacharya.
Among the 13 demands submitted to the ALC, some of them are a revision to the existing wage of tea garden workers from Rs90 to Rs285, their inclusion in the BPL category, distribution of food grains, especially rice, in tea gardens at Rs2 per kg and granting of land pattas. The CPM is also against privatisation of the five tea gardens presently under the West Bengal Tea Development Corporation.
001: Saman Pathak speaking in Darjeeling on Monday.
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