West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hoped on Tuesday that peace and stability would remain in the hills following the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration elections after a decade.
Banerjee, who was speaking at the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected board of GTA, assured the people of Darjeeling that the state government would extend all possible support for the development of the hills.
The chief minister announced a slew of development projects for the hills, saying she was ”not here to capture the hills, but to win the hearts of the people”.
Darjeeling, often referred to as the queen of the hills, has witnessed several agitations over the years, with political parties promising the people a separate Gorkhaland state and implementation of the Sixth Schedule, which grants autonomy to a tribal-inhabited region. Polls to the GTA were held in June after a decade, which was marked by a series of changes in the region’s political dynamics.
”The elections in the hills have never been so peaceful. GTA polls were held to ensure peace and stability remained in the hills,” Banerjee said.
”We want development and prosperity for the hills. We don’t want violence and disturbance,” she said. ”Please don’t allow the peace and stability of the hills to get disturbed.” Banerjee requested the elected members of the GTA to keep aside their political affiliations and work for the development of the hills.
”If few leaders try to instigate violence, don’t allow them to do so. If peace and stability remain in the hills, the economy of the hills will also get a boost,” she said.
Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) leader Anit Thapa and others took oath as board members of the GTA.
The nine-month-old BGPM emerged as the largest party in the elections to the GTA, winning 27 out of 45 seats.
Traditional hill parties like the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Gorkha National Liberation Front, besides the BJP, have boycotted the semi-autonomous council elections.