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Trinamul Congress launches campaign against John Barla

In the past few weeks, the BJP MP was accused of encroaching on tea garden land and a state government plot and constructing buildings
John Barla.
John Barla.
File photo

Anirban Choudhury   |   Alipurduar   |   Published 03.08.21, 01:58 AM

The Trinamul Congress has launched a campaign in the Dooars against Alipurduar BJP MP and Union minister of state for minority affairs John Barla over his alleged encroachment on land and corruption and the support for the separate “North Bengal” state.

The campaign was launched under the banner of the Bharatiya Mulniwasi Adivasi Vikas Parishad, an apolitical organisation floated for tribal people by Rajesh Lakra, who is in Trinamul now. Following his switch to Trinamul, the Parishad has been functioning as a frontal organisation of the ruling party.

In the past few weeks, Barla was accused of encroaching on tea garden land and a state government plot and constructing buildings. A woman accused him of fleecing her financially also.

After Trinamul had swept the Assembly polls, Barla lent support to the demand that north Bengal be turned into a separate state or a Union Territory for its development.

“We have launched a campaign against Barla. On one hand, he is speaking on divisive lines, indulged in corruption and encroached on land at many locations. On the other hand, Barla has not done anything for the Dooars or north Bengal as a whole even though two-and-a-half years have passed since he became an MP. We will start a movement against the MP if need be,” said Lakra.

Political observers said tribal people in the Dooars could easily relate themselves to Lakra’s Parishad. “So, the campaign against Barla under the Parishad’s banner is a well-planned strategy of Trinamul. The basic idea is to dent the saffron camp’s base in the region,” said a political observer.

Trinamul leaders said they would visit every tea garden and forest villages to apprise residents of Barla’s alleged land grab, corruption and divisive politics.

Lakra and some other Trinamul leaders on Monday held a public meeting in Madarihat, the Assembly segment in Alipurduar where Lakra had lost to the BJP this year. “A similar meeting will be held at Malbazar on Tuesday (tomorrow),” said the Trinamul leader.

Asked about the Trinamul campaign, an Alipurduar district BJP leader said: “Trinamul is making all efforts to try and revive its support base. But such activities will not work as people are with us.”

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