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BJP wind in district demand

- Party to start movement for a Siliguri district
District cry: The Siliguri junction station

Siliguri, July 20: The BJP today demanded the creation of a separate Siliguri district after leading the vote share in the Lok Sabha polls in several pockets of the town and its adjoining areas.

Rathindra Bose, the Siliguri district president of the BJP, said this evening: “It has been decided that we will start a movement demanding that Siliguri be made a separate district, comprising Siliguri subdivision and neighbouring areas of Jalpaiguri.”

“Our party is always in favour of smaller administrative set-ups for better governance. The demand for a separate Siliguri district was raised earlier and it is a logical demand. We would re-emphasise on that and carry out a movement in the form of rallies, submission of memorandum in all quarters concerned and hold sit-in demonstrations,” he said.

Organisations such as Amra Bangali had raised the demand for a separate Silguri district earlier but no mainstream political party has lent voice to it.

Siliguri town is part of Darjeeling district.

The Siliguri subdivision area comprises the main town and four blocks — Matigara, Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa.

In all these areas the BJP posted leads in the Lok Sabha elections, partly because of the Narendra Modi wave — Modi held a rally in Siliguri — and the sizeable population of the Hindi-speaking trader community.

The BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia, who contested the Darjeeling seat of which Siliguri and the four blocks are a part, won the Lok Sabha poll by nearly 2 lakh votes. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had supported Ahluwalia in the hills.

“We have formed committees in all the gram panchayats and blocks of Siliguri sub-division and now we are moving ahead to form booth committees in each village. In the SMC area, we have formed most of the ward committees and would form the remaining committees within the next few weeks,” Bose said.

“Given the Lok Sabha election results, our party is confident of performing well in both Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad and the SMC polls and we are working in a planned manner both in the city and in the adjoining rural areas,” he added.

“Trinamul has realised that we would give them a tough fight and that they can lose in the majority of the seats. This is why the party is delaying the civic and rural polls by using the state machinery,” Bose said.

The BJP leadership, he said, will also visit North Bengal Medical College and Hospital tomorrow.

“Led by a team comprising two doctors, we will visit NBMCH tomorrow to check out the state of affairs there. There is utter mismanagement in the state health department and in this apex hospital of north Bengal. We are surprised to learn that people are dying of encephalitis every day and no intervention has been made by the state so far,” Bose said.

“The minister of state for health, Chandrima Bhattacharya, despite knowing about the situation and the deaths, did not bother to visit the hospital where encephalitis patients are under treatment, during her visit here last week,” he said.

The BJP said it would demand a CBI probe into the SJDA funds misappropriation scam.