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Never promised Gorkhaland: WB BJP chief Dilip Ghosh

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Kolkata, July 16: West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Sunday said that his party never promised Gorkhaland to the Hills people though it is sympathetic to the demand, his party swept the north Bengal region including Darjeeling seat in the Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP chief also said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will soon be implemented in West Bengal on the lines of Assam. "We want development of Gorkha people. We are sympathetic to the Gorkhaland statehood demand, but had never promised a separate state," he added while speaking to the media after a workers' meet in Jalpaiguri district.

Never promised Gorkhaland: WB BJP chief Dilip Ghosh

Reacting to the statement of the BJP chief, Darjeeling lawmaker and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) spokesperson Neeraj Zimba said, "Dilip Ghosh has his own political compulsions but that does not stop us from continuing our demand for separate Gorkhaland state." "We want a permanent political solution to the issue," he said.

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During the election campaign in Kalimpong, BJP president Amit Shah didn't vouch for Gorkhaland. He talked about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, assured citizenship to Gorkhas and allayed their fears over the National Register of Citizens exercise.

Absconding Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung, in an interview to PTI in April this year before the Lok Sabha elections, had claimed the BJP has promised to look into the Gorkhaland demand.

Wanted in many cases including sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, murder and rioting, Bimal Gurung is on the run for over two years.

However, for the first time in about three decades, the Gorkhaland statehood demand was not a poll issue in the Darjeeling Hills as parties, including the GJM and GNLF, sought development and restoration of democracy in the region.

Earlier, in 2017 Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of the state had witnessed a 104-day strike seeking creation of separate Gorkhaland state.

The agitation saw a split in the GJM, that rules the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in the hills, with the Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa faction shifting loyalties to the ruling Trinamool Congress. BJP candidate Raju Sing Bista won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.

Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency has been returning BJP candidates since 2009, with Jaswant Singh winning the seat that year followed by Surinder Singh Ahluwalia in 2014.

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