Amitava Banerjee , HT, 12 Jul 2016: DARJEELING: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrived to a ‘Green welcome’ in the hills, with the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) cadres painting the hills green with their party flags. Mamata arrived here on Monday and President Pranab Mukher jee will ar rive on Tuesday. He will be accorded a state reception at the Darjeeling Chowrasta at 5:25pm.
The President will get a slice of his ancestral village Kirnahar in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. Bauls, synonymous with Birbhum, will perform for the president on July 13 on the occasion of Nepali poet Acharya Bhanubhakta’s birth anniversary.
Kartik Das Baul, a renowned baul has arrived with his troupe. “We will be performing for the president. His ancestral village is Birbhum and I am sure he will feel nostalgic” Kartik Das baul said. Last minute preparations are on in full swing at the Chowrasta for the event.
The near one-hour long state reception will feature performance of traditional dances, presenting of “Uttorio” (shawl) to the President; speech by the president, governor and chief minister. Gorkhaland Territorial Administration chief Bimal Gurung will attend the event.
On July 13, president, governor and CM will attend the birth anniversary of poet Acharya Bhanubhakta on the Chowrasta at 3 pm. The event will include garlanding of Acharya’s bust by the president, governor and CM.
CM was accorded a warm welcome by the GNLF forming human chains in towns and villages along the route from the plains of Simulbari near Siliguri to the Darjeeling Railway Station. People shouted slogans for Mamta Banerjee amid cheers of GNLF supporters, who waved green party flags.
Banerjee received received Khadas (traditional scarves) from GNLF supporters, who hoped that the CM will lend support to the GNLF’s demand for granting the special 6th Schedule status to the Darjeeling.
TMC supporters were also present in a many locations along with members of various development boards. Members of the Newar Association were also present to welcome the CM. “We have requested the CM for the formation of a Newar (a Gorkha sub community) Development Board for the all round development of the community. Her response has been very positive and she has agreed to meet us” a member of the Newar Association said.