SNS, SILIGURI. 18 FEB: The Congress today demanded a separate Siliguri district caving out existing areas of Darjeeling. following chief minister Mamata Banerjee led state government's decision to create small districts including the newly-formed Kalimpong.
The Congress leadership will hold a public convention on this issue inviting all political parties except the BJP. in Siliguri Indoor Stadium on 7 March where West Bengal state Congress Committee president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and former PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya will be present to adopt a resolution over its movement.
However the Darjeeling district committee (plains) president, Shankar Malakar today declared that they would "boycott' the district magistrate in his office in Darjeeling from 1 May this year and would start demanding a new district magistrate for Siliguri here.
Besides, the party has decided to start signature campaigning, seeking an appointment with state governor Keshari Math Tripathi and chief minister Mamata Banerjee to meet them to discuss the issue.
Congress, as it seems, does not want to leave any stone unturned, and may call a bandh in Siliguri in May.
Party activists will be starting the signature campaigning from tomorrow and after completion it will be sent to the chief minister shortly. The party leaders said that the Siliguri district could be carved out existing areas comprising all 47 wards under Siliguri Municipal Corporation, three Assembly segments -Matigara-Naxalbari and Phansidewa in Darjeeling and Dabgram-Fulbari Assembly segment in Jalpaiguri district.
"We have been demanding that Siliguri be upgraded as a separate district because of manifold reasons but neither the previous Left Front government nor the present Trinamul Congress government is concerned. The chief minister has declared Kalimpong as a district, and we have no objection to it. She has been kind enough to declare 15 development hoards for different hill communities." district party president Mr Malakar said, adding. "But why will Siliguri people be 'politically' ignored? If Kalimpong can he a district, then why not Siliguri? The town is undeclared capital of north Bengal and the gateway of North-East. The town has immense importance in terms of administrative point of view also. It fulfills all the criteria."
"Apart from regular programmes to be organised in seven party organisational blocks of the party, a citizen convention will be held on 7 March. The state party chief Adhir Chowdhury, former state party president Pradip Bhattacharya among the leaders will address the convention. We would invite all the political parties except BJP and apolitical organisations.We appeal to all to come forward for the cause," Mr. Malakar said.