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Home / West-bengal / TMC moves reflect north revival bid

TMC moves reflect north revival bid

Government also comes up with a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation package for militants of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation
Trinamul decided to convene meetings specifically for tea garden population in the coming weeks.
Trinamul decided to convene meetings specifically for tea garden population in the coming weeks.
File Photo

Avijit Sinha   |   Siliguri   |   Published 05.08.22, 12:55 AM

A series of recent decisions by the Trinamul Congress and the Mamata Banerjee government show the party has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to revive its support base in north Bengal.

On one hand, three MLAs of the region have been inducted into the cabinet. On the other hand, Paresh Adhikary, the Trinamul MLA of Mekhliganj in Cooch Behar district, was divested of the post of minister of state after his daughter’s name was linked to the SSC job scam.

The government also came up with a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation package for militants of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO). The banned outfit was formed here around 30 years ago over the demand of separate statehood.

Further, Trinamul decided to convene meetings specifically for tea garden population in the coming weeks and also brought in new faces to the posts of office-bearers at district levels.

“Altogether, Trinamul is taking a comprehensive approach to win back the support of voters dwelling in north Bengal. This is because even are securing a whopping victory in Assembly polls, the party lagged behind the BJP in this region. As rural elections are ahead, Trinamul is playing all out to placate grievances of people,” said Soumen Nag, a social researcher based in Siliguri.

On Thursday, as Mamata Banerjee inducted eight new faces in the state Cabinet and also realigned the departments among the ministers, she picked up Udayan Guha of Dinhata (in Cooch Behar), Satyajit Barman of Hemtabad (in North Dinajpur) and Tajmul Hossain of Harishchandrapur (in Malda).

Significantly, the Trinamul leadership also dropped Paresh Adhikary from the Cabinet. After the scam with regard to his daughter’s recruitment as a schoolteacher had surfaced, the party had to suffer a face loss. Also, a section of party leaders had asserted that he should be removed.

“His removal and simultaneous inclusion of three MLAs in the Cabinet has been welcomed by residents of this region. Also, the number of ministers from north Bengal has increased to seven. This decision will surely help the party to improve its base,” said an observer.

The second key decision which Trinamul insiders feel can help in wooing the Rajbanshi population of north Bengal is the announcement of surrender-cum-rehabilitation package for KLO militants and linkmen.

“It is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive package for the KLO militants and linkmen. The package has been announced to encourage these people to return to the mainstream and also create a space for them so that they can find some employment to make earnings and run their families,” said a senior police official.

After Trinamul came to power in the state, Mamata Banerjee has provided jobs of home guards to over 500 former militants and linkmen.

As per the notification, a militant or linkman who surrenders will receive a series of assistance and benefits from the Bengal government. Among the benefits include cash compensation for surrendering firearms, ammunition, grenades and other equipment, ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 1 lakh, instant grants, monthly stipend, house rent allowance, medical assistance for family and educational assistance for children.

The new package has been announced at a time when the KLO leadership has shown interest in peace talks. However, the KLO leaders seem to be keen on holding talks with the Centre and the Assam government and not Bengal.



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