Mamata Banerjee serves pani puri in Darjeeling – watch!

Darjeeling: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has always been a newsmaker, from clashing with her political rivals to making explosive remarks. And now, she is once again in the news for a unique reason – on her three-day visit to the hill town of Darjeeling in West Bengal, Mamata was seen serving delicious phuchka – or pani puri – to people! And from children to senior citizens, crowds had gathered and they were shooed away by none other than the Chief Minister.

Mamata Banerjee began her three-day visit to Darjeeling on Monday (July 11). A senior official had said that the main objective was to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the 45 newly elected members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). He said the chief minister reached Bagdogra airport near Siliguri in the afternoon and attended the swearing-in ceremony at Darjeeling Chowrasta, popularly known as Mall, on Tuesday. “The chief minister is scheduled to return to Kolkata on Thursday,” the official said.

According to reports, after the swearing-in ceremony, CM Mamta was going from Richmond Hill to Darjeeling Zoo. On the way, she came across a pani puri stall and that’s when the CM decided to serve pani puri or phuchka to the people there. Apparently, seeing Mamta in the role of ‘Pani Pui vendor’, a crowd gathered near the stall. The Chief Minister did not disappoint and was seen handing out pani puris filled with potato-pea stuffing and tamarind water to children and others! He also talked to the people there.

Meanwhile, the 10-month-old Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) led by former GTA president Anit Thapa emerged victorious in the recently held GTA elections, winning 27 seats in the 45-member semi-autonomous council. The BGPM is a separate faction of the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which boycotted the GTA elections held in the hills after a decade.

Another newly formed outfit, the Hamro Party and the Trinamool Congress, got eight and five seats respectively, while five independents emerged victorious in the GTA elections held on June 26. Thapa formed the BGPM in September last year. He shares cordial relations with West Bengal’s ruling party TMC, and even recently met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata and extended an invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony.