• United Front for Separate State wants Centre to clear air on North Bengal statehood 
    Telegraph | 21 November 2023
  • Representatives of United Front for Separate State (UFSS), a joint forum demanding a north Bengal state, want the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to clear its stand on the demand at the Parliament's upcoming winter session.

    UFSS spokesperson Uttam Roy said that on Monday that they would hold a public meeting in a centrally located place in north Bengal, preferably in Siliguri, soon to send a clear missive to the central government so that it makes a decision on the issue in Parliament.

    “We have waited for 10 years. Several assurances were given by the BJP and the Centre. Many BJP leaders said that the aspirations of the people of north Bengal would be met. In reality, nothing has happened. This is high time for the central government to make some concrete decisions,” said Roy.

    The UFSS is a common forum of nine regional political parties and organisations — the Kamtapur Progressive Party, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the Kamtapur People's Party (United), the Joy Birsa Munda Ulgulan, the SC/ST Movement Committee, the Progressive Peoples Party, the Akhil Bharatiya Rajbanshi Samaj, the Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association and the Bhumiputra Unnayan Committee.

    “The Lok Sabha elections will be held early next year.... We want the current central government to act on its promise to the residents of the region before the polls. This time, if they don’t deliver ahead of the polls, we have other plans,” Roy added.

    In north Bengal, each of these parties and organisations has a support base among the Rajbanshis, the Gorkhas and the tribals. Their support helped the BJP to win seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats in the region in 2019.

    A UFSS source said that representatives of the core committee of all nine constituent organisations will meet here on November 23.

    At this meeting, the venue of the public meeting and its agendas will be decided.

    The public meeting apart, the Forum also plans to submit memorandums on its demand separately to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Mamata Banerjee and governor C.V. Ananda Bose.

    On November 18, Bimal Gurung, the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, one of the principal constituents of the Forum, had hinted at a party event in Kalimpong that the Front had finalised its plans for a grand movement aiming to electorally influence the eight Lok Sabha seats of the region in the run-up to the polls.

    “We will decide on contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in all these eight constituencies through a consensus. But before that, we would like to know from the Centre what it has planned for the people of this region,” said Budharu Roy, a Front coordinator.
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