Don’t raise separate statehood issue, Nadda tells Bengal BJP leaders

Kolkata: BJP President J.P. Nadda on Thursday gave strict instructions to the party leaders in West Bengal, especially the MPs and MLAs, to refrain from raising the separate statehood issue or making statements in support of the issue in public platforms.

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At a meeting with the state leaders of the party on Thursday, Nadda clearly stated that the demands from a section of party MPs and MLAs for separate statehood for north Bengal are harming the party’s prospects.

Nadda reportedly told the party leaders that keeping in mind the 2023 panchayat elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, such separate statehood demand might turn out to be a misadventure which the party cannot afford.

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All the elected BJP Lok Sabha members and legislators from the state were present at the meeting.

A senior state committee leader said on condition of anonymity that Nadda clearly instructed that the state unit should continue its mass movement on the issue of depriving north Bengal of overall development, but that movement should not involve any separate statehood demand.

“Our national president was also of the opinion that demanding separate statehood might isolate the party from the masses in other pockets of the state as the anti-BJP forces will highlight the issue and label the party as a separatist force,” the state committee leader said.

Recently, BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Alipurduar, John Barla, and party MP from Jalpaiguri, Jayanta Roy, had raised the demand for separate statehood for north Bengal.

In fact, separatist force Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) recently released a video message, in which the group highlighted Barla and Roy’s demand for separate statehood.

In almost all her recent political rallies, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been vocal on the issue of a section of the BJP leaders raising this separate statehood demand.

“I will resist any attempt to divide the state. I will do that even if someone points a gun at me,” the Chief Minister said recently.

During Thursday’s meeting, Nadda also reminded the state BJP leaders that they would have to spearhead mass movements in the state on various issues and should shed the over-dependence on the central leadership.

“In simple words, Nadda said that no one from outside will win the battle for us in West Bengal,” the state committee leader said.

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