Siliguri, Jan. 24: Minister Gautam Deb today said Mamata Banerjee would inaugurate the hill leg of the Uttarbanga Utsav in Kalimpong on January 28 and not in Darjeeling as announced earlier, creating confusion in administrative circles.
Within minutes, Deb retracted his statement and said the chief minister would inaugurate the festival in Darjeeling and a senior Writers’ official also confirmed that there was no change in Mamata’s itinerary.
“It has been decided that the cultural programme for the hill segment of Uttarbanga Utsav will be held in Kalimpong, either at the Town Hall or in the Mela Grounds of the town …. Kalimpong is not out of the hills. We had earlier mentioned Darjeeling but it was a tentative venue. Even Kalimpong is a tentative venue and we are yet to get a confirmation from the chief minister’s office,” Deb told journalists in his office here.
Speculations were rife that Mamata would cancel her hill trip in the wake of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s call for a renewed agitation for Gorkhaland.
However, no sooner had journalists left the news conference, than they received an SMS from Deb’s office, saying the chief minister would visit Darjeeling to launch the fest.
A senior official at Writers’ Buildings said: “The chief minister was always scheduled to visit Darjeeling and not Kalimpong. The minister (Deb) may have been misled by someone or there may have been some confusion in his office over this.”