Setback for GJM as constituent walks out

Fissures appeared barely a day after GJM propped up an eight-party platform for Gorkhaland stir as major constituent All-India Gorkha League walked out demanding that its three conditions be met first, including the scrapping of the Territorial Administration (GTA).

Darjeeling: Fissures appeared barely a day after GJM propped up an eight-party platform for Gorkhaland stir as major constituent All-India Gorkha League walked out demanding that its three conditions be met first, including the scrapping of the Territorial Administration (GTA).

The AIGL had raised three demands at the all party meeting yesterday at which the platform, Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee was formed, AIGL president Bharti Tamang told a press conference here on Saturday.

Bharati Tamang, who took over the party following the murder of her husband and then president Madan Tamang in Darjeeling town on May 21, 2010, said the demands were that the GJM should quit the GTA, all GTA members should resign and there should be speedy justice for Madan Tamang.

"If the GJM leadership shows interest in meeting our demands, we will return to the GJAC," Bharati Tamang said.

The decision was communicated to Enos Das Pradhan, chief of GJAC, she said.

"The existence of GTA and the Gorkhaland movement cannot go together," AIGL General Secretary Pratap Khati said.

"Till GTA is there, we cannot advance our movement to achieve Gorkhaland. GTA has to be repealed," he said.

He said that his party would not take part in an all party meeting called tomorrow by the GJAC.
Led by Enos Das Pradhan, chief of Gorkha Task Force the other constituents of GJAC were the GJM, BJP, ABGL, CPRM, Gorkha Rashtriya Congress, Bharatiya Gorkha Rastriya Parisangh, and Gorkha Rashtriya Nirman Parishad.

Following withdrawal of the ABGL, the third largest party after GJM and CPRM (Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists), leaders of the other smaller parties said they would also raise their own demands at the all-party meeting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, accusing the West Bengal government of
trying to suppress the party`s movement, GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri demanded the Centre`s intervention saying that the people in the hills wanted Gorkhaland.

"It is their aspiration and the Centre has to intervene," he said.

The party also decided that its three MLAs will sit in the opposition in the Assembly.

The MLAs -- Trilok Dewan, Rohit Sharma and Harkha Bahadur Chhetri -- "will now sit with the opposition bench in the Vidhan Sabha to protest against the State Government move to crush the Gorkhaland movement by using state machinery," GJM President Bimal Gurung said in a Facebook post.

Asked whether the GJM would talk to Governor M K Narayanan on the issue, the general secretary told reporters that the party could talk to to him, but insisted on central intervention.

Narayanan had said on August 15 that if Gurung wanted to talk to him then he was ready for it.

The GJM supremo, in a Facebook post, claimed that historically Darjeeling was never a part of Bengal, apparently to counter Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s assertion that West Bengal would not be divided.

"The creation of Gorkhaland is not the partition of Bengal as historically Darjeeling was not a part of Bengal and was leased by the British from the kingdom of Sikkim in 1835," Gurung said.

He said that Kalimpong, which is in Darjeeling district and the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district, were annexed in 1865 from Bhutan.

He also said that the allegation of being dubbed foreigners by those opposed to Gorkhaland was only strengthening the GJM`s statehood movement.

"The current movement constantly reaffirms our patriotism to India with our slogan `Jai Hind, Jai Gorkha`," he said.

PTI