Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Monday rejected Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chief Subash Ghisingh`s demand for sixth schedule status for the Darjeeling hills and said people would force him out of the hills for undermining their desire for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Taking offence at Ghisingh repeatedly pitching for the sixth schedule status at his public meetings and media interactions since returning to the hills earlier this month, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said: "Even GNLF supporters are now pained and angry with him."
Ghisingh has for the past few years been a votary of the sixth schedule status - a constitutional provision for fast development of tribal areas by setting up autonomous regional councils authorised to take legislative decisions independently and having access to annual grant-in-aids and other additional revenue sources.
"People had thrown him out of the hills earlier. They will again show him the way out. We don`t have to do anything," Giri said after casting his vote in this internationally famed hill tourist resort.
Ghising had been forced to leave the hills July 26, 2008, allegedly by the GJM, and spent about three years at a rented house in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district in the plains.
The former armyman had launched a prolonged violent struggle in the 1980s for a Gorkhaland state and ran the autonomous governing body for the hills Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) for over two decades till his party was sidelined in early 2008 by the GJM that spearheads the movement now.
According to Giri, Ghisingh`s stand on the sixth schedule would have no effect. "Ghisingh is day dreaming. He is not even a leader now. When people had forced him out earlier, we had provided him safe passage upto Siliguri so that he is not harmed."
Giri also claimed that the GJM would win all the three seats it was contesting in the district - Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseyong - hands down.
"Ghisingh is not a factor. He has been rejected by the people, who are with us," he said.
Giri alleged a conspiracy to show the GJM in poor light. "The opposition parties are making baseless allegations against us. This has been proved by the peaceful polling today.
"The opposition parties are unable to do political activities as they don`t have the people`s backing. What can we do about it?" he asked.
GJM president Bimal Gurung and other party leaders besides Ghisingh voted in Monday`s first phase polls to the state Assembly.
Fifty-four constituencies spread across six North Bengal districts have gone to the hustings Monday.