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Factions merge for Kamtapur fight
Nikhil and Atul

Siliguri, Oct. 13: Nikhil Roy and Atul Roy have decided to bury the hatchet and merge their parties — the Kamtapur People’s Party and the Kamtapur Progressive Party — to carry forward the movement for a separate state with greater vigour.

The Kamtapur People’s Party formed in January 1996 split in 2003 with Atul floating the Kamtapur Progressive Party after serious differences cropped up between him and Nikhil.

With the merger, there is only Kamtapur People’s Party now.

“There had been differences between us, leading to the formation of the new party. However, we found it tough to carry on with the campaign for the separate Kamtapur state and the recognition of the Kamtapuri language. The support for the movement was getting divided between two of us. The followers felt discouraged by the rift between the two parties and there was pressure from them for the merger,” said Atul, who was the president of the progressive faction.

“We called for a joint meeting on October 10 and invited delegates from all north Bengal districts. More than 2,000 people assembled at Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri and all of them consented to the merger. Finally, we decided to set aside our differences and joined hands to carry out the movement,” said Atul, who was chosen the president of the people’s party after the merger.

“It was important that we were together as there was no denying the fact that both the groups had grown weak in terms of support base. We had lost the spontaneous support of the Rajbangshi population,” said Nikhil, who was selected as the general secretary of the KPP.

“The urge of supporters prompted us to sit together and take the decision and we hope to start the movement again in full swing.”

Atul also hinted at the renewal of the movement.

“It is the festive season now and we will wait till Diwali. Once the festivities are over, we will hit the streets with a united spirit, like the KPP used to be during its initial years of movement. We are chalking out programmes to bring in more people and renew our demands,” he said.

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