Darjeeling, Sept. 26:In an obvious sign of relations souring up between the Jan Andolan Party and the Trinamool Congress, the JAP today rebuffed the TMC’s attempts to make inroads in the hills, asserting no national-level party would be able to usurp power in the region.
The latest swipe comes in the wake of chief minister Mamata Banerjee recently clarifying in a public programme that it was her and her government’s decision to form a separate Kalimpong district.
“We (hills) cherish regional feelings and sentiments when it comes to politics, whatever parties we may be associated with. No national party has been able to rule in the hills as the history of the place shows,” asserted Amar Lama, senior JAP bureau member, today durig a press briefing in Darjeeling.
Going a step further, Lama challenged the TMC to form the government in Tripura first. “Why, Darjeeling hills, we challenge the TMC to first form government in Tripura,” the JAP leader said.
|Rift between Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and the Trinamool Congress Began|
Coming out in defence of the party’s president, Lama reiterated that it was the strong pitch made by JAP chief Harka Bahadur Chhetri and the District Demand Committee (DDC) that made the state government decide to create Kalimpong district. “Our party president and the DDC pursued the issue of creating a Kalimpong district relentlessly. It was this untiring effort and pursuance that gave the state government the impetus to come to a decision. The chief minister cannot deny this fact,” said Lama.
The JAP has all along taken credit for the state government's decision to form a Kalimpong district, which apparently was not announced by the chief minister during her latest three-day visit to the hills,
much against popular expectations. Speaing at a programme organised by the Lepcha development board in Kalimpong, Banerjee clarified that nobody had pursued the matter with her to create Kalimpong district. Interestingly, Chhetri who is also the Kalimpong MLA, was among the invitees to the function and was seated on the dais when Banerjee uttered her statement.
The JAP president initially dabbled for a Kalimpong district as a member of the DDC after severing ties with the GJM before he went on to float the JAP to contest the assembly election riding on the Kalimpong district issue. Lama also took offence to the war of words between the state government and the GJM over allocation of funds to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. He said,
“Rather than indulging in making claims and allegations, the state government should ask the Comptroller Auditor General to audit the expenditure accounts of the GTA. It can be done on the basis of section 55, clause 9 of the GTA Act under the Funds and Audit section." Lama also suggested that if at all anomalies were found in the audit, the GTA Sabha should be dissolved then.
Mamata Banerjee has claimed that the state government had allocated Rs 4,000 crore to the GTA for development over a period of four years since the formation of the council in 2012. Refuting the claim, GJM president Bimal Gurung has announced a 12 hour strike in the hills on September 28, seeking a clarification from the state government.
JAP raps GTA & Mamata on funds
Darjeeling, Sept. 26: The Jana Andolan Party today accused both Mamata Banerjee and Bimal Gurung of indulging in politics over the GTA funds and asked the state government to conduct an audit of the hill body.
Amar Lama, a bureau member of the JAP, today said: "The chief minister had come up with a Rs 1,000 crore figure during a public meeting in Kurseong in March and after a few months, she talks about Rs 4,000 crore in Kalimpong. Instead of speaking on an issue like this at a public gathering, the chief minister should act seriously. The state government should ask the CAG to conduct an audit and if they find financial irregularities, the state should supersede the GTA as is laid out in the Act."
Lama further said the chief minister was raising the funds issue only when her relation with the Morcha was on the rocks. "Why is the issue being raised only when the relation between the two parties has hit a low? Had the relation (between the Morcha and Trinamul) been steady, it seems, the chief minister would have never raised the issue," said Lama.
In the recent Assembly elections, the JAP was in an alliance with the Trinamul Congress.
Accusing the Morcha of failing to be transparent, Lama said: "The Morcha must be transparent on the issue. The GTA, which is controlled by the Morcha, should give a proper reply to funds queries and should not hide details on money matters. However, there was no need to call a general strike on an issue related to claims and counter-claims on funds."
Late in the evening, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said the Wednesday strike was also to strengthen the voice of Gorkhaland, which the state government was trying to scuttle in all possible ways. - Telegraph