Bengal Guv leaves for month-long Darjeeling tour

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(Eds: Adds governor's quote) Kolkata/Malda, Oct 31 (PTI) West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has left for north Bengal to begin his month-long tour of Darjeeling from November 1.

Dhankhar said he will connect with the people and the administration and work towards 'fulfilling people's expectations'.

'In train for North Bengal to connect with people and work towards fulfilment of their expectations. Harnessing of its enormous travel, tourism, economic, educational potential would improve lives of the people. Would connect with people and administration @MamataOfficial,' he tweeted on Saturday.

In another tweet, Dhankhar said he has reached Malda station and was 'touched' by the warm response from local people led by BJP's Maldaha Uttar MP Khagen Murmu.

'I am not going out of the country. Darjeeling is a part of the state. I would like to meet people from a cross- section of the society from tea garden workers, politicians to intellectuals. All problems of north Bengal can be resolved.

The region has a lot of potential for growth,' Dhankhar told reporters at Malda station.

In an earlier statement, the Raj Bhavan had said Dhankhar will tour Darjeeling from November 1-30.

He is also scheduled to address a press conference in Siliguri on Sunday.

The governor's tour of Darjeeling comes in the backdrop of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung announcing his party's exit from the NDA and pledging support to the Trinamool Congress during next year's assembly elections.

Dhankhar had also called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday and discussed the 'state of affairs and affairs of state'.

Supporters of both Bimal Gurung and his rival GJM faction led by Binoy Tamang have taken out separate rallies in the hills in the last few days.

Gurung, while recently making a dramatic appearance in Kolkata after remaining in hiding for three years, walked out of the BJP-led NDA, accusing the political alliance of not keeping its promises.

The TMC received a shot in the arm with Gurung's announcement and welcomed his decision. The Binoy Tamang-led GJM faction is already allied with the ruling party in the state.

The TMC leadership, however, is apprehensive of Dhankhar's visit to the hills as he has been at loggerheads with the Mamata Banerjee dispensation since assuming charge as the governor over a year ago.

'Dhankhar can always visit any part of the state but we don't think this is a routine visit. We are apprehensive about his purpose,' a senior TMC leader from north Bengal had said.

The BJP, however, has come out in support of the governor and said Dhankhar has the right to visit any part of West Bengal as the constitutional head of the state. PTI SUS COR ACD ACD