Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022
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WB BJP MLA Links Separate State Demand To Summer Vacation Decision

"Due 2 heatwave in South Bengal, Schools r closed in North Bengal. For such an administrative decision, the demand for a separate state is born in NB!" the BJP MLA tweeted.

BJP MLA Shankar Ghosh
BJP MLA Shankar Ghosh PTI

A BJP MLA on Thursday triggered a row by saying that the government’s "arbitrary" decisions like announcing early summer vacation in schools across West Bengal due to heatwave only in its southern region breed the demand for a separate state in the north, as the situation is different there.

Shankar Ghosh, the MLA of Siliguri in north Bengal, said the weather in that region is quite pleasant now and the government should have considered the opinion of the people there before making such a decision.

Hitting back, the ruling Trinamool Congress alleged that the BJP has been trying to fan separatism and plotting to bifurcate the state for political reasons.

Following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s advice, the education department on Wednesday said that summer vacation will start on May 2 and it will continue till June 15. According to the holiday list released earlier, the 12-day-long summer vacation was scheduled to begin from May 24.

The BJP MLA tweeted: "Due 2 heatwave in South Bengal, Schools r closed in North Bengal. For such an administrative decision, the demand for a separate state is born in NB!" Ghosh tweeted.

He also sent a letter to Education Minister Bratya Basu and demanded that the Siliguri division be excluded from the purview of the summer vacation announced on Wednesday.

While speaking to a news channel, Ghosh said that "such arbitrary" decisions without considering the opinion and sentiment of the people of north Bengal only breed a sense of alienation among them.

"Just because there is a heatwave in south Bengal, the decision to close schools across Bengal is not justified. The schools have reopened nearly after two years, and the weather in north Bengal is quite pleasant right now,” the BJP MLA said.

Physical classes started in February after Covid cases started coming down in the state.

“The state government should have consulted the people of the north Bengal before taking such a decision," Ghosh said.

Reacting to his comments, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh claimed that such statements only reflect the "immaturity of BJP leaders".

"The BJP has been trying to fan separatism and plotting to bifurcate Bengal for political reasons. But we will never allow that to happen,” he said.

If the MLA had a problem with the summer vacation, he could have written to the state government without bringing in the issue of a separate state, Ghosh saidL.

Last year, BJP MLA from Kurseong in north Bengal Bishnu Prasad Sharma had demanded separation of Darjeeling hills from West Bengal.

The party's Alipurduar MP John Barla had also stirred a hornet's nest last year after he demanded a union territory by carving out districts of north Bengal. Alipurduar is also in the northern part of the state. 

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