Darjeeling: GJM president Bimal Gurung has said that he welcomed back GNLF chief Subhas Ghising who had spearheaded the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state in the 1980s, to the Darjeeling hills, while asking him to stay away from politics.
Referring to the 6th Schedule Bill or tribal status for Darjeeling hills as had been demanded by Ghising, he said in a Facebook post that it had lapsed.
Gurung, a former protege of Ghising, had fallen out with him and launched the GJM in October 2007 which led the GNLF chief to be driven out of Darjeeling.
The GJM chief said "The 6th Schedule bill has been lapsed and cannot be implemented in the hills as stated in the RTI given by Ministry of Home Affairs (sic)."
He said "With the 6th Schedule now a dead chapter, the GNLF has no political agenda."
Claiming that it was `the end of GNLF party`, he said "I would now welcome, Subash Ghising in the hills as he has no political agenda.
"On humanitarian ground I am welcoming Subash Ghising in the hills as his health condition is not good but I would appeal to him to stay away from politics."
He said GNLF had dropped the Gorkhaland demand while signing the MoS of the 6th Schedule, `but while signing of GTA we have clearly mentioned that Gorkhaland demand is on record`.
"He should now see and learn from me and GTA on how development is done. The issue of Gorkhaland can be only achieved through GTA," he said, adding that the hill council was a stepping stone to Gorkhaland and it was the only way it could be achieved.
Gurung, however, said "The issue of development is as important as identity and thus our immediate focus is to do development in the hills and to work for the common people."
He said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had invited him for talks on December 20 in Kolkata where he would raise the party`s demands.