A day after signing the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) agreement designed to give more autonomy to the hill region of West Bengal, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung said on Tuesday that it would be possible to form a separate state through the agreement.
"(Chief minister) Mamata Banerjee, who is like our mother, must be having her political and personal compulsions to rule out the creation of Gorkhaland and we understand this. Similarly, we also have our compulsion to fight for a separate state and she should understand this," Gurung told supporters at a public meeting at Pintail village in Siliguri subdivision where the agreement was signed on Monday.
Gurung added, "The formation Gorkhaland is possible through the GTA."
The agreement records the demand for the separate state in two paragraphs. Gurung pointed out he had not signed the agreement.
"I will only sign on the Gorkhaland accord as and when it happens," he said.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, who signed the agreement, said, "The GTA is only an interim arrangement and Bimal Gurung is free to launch the movement for Gorkhaland."
Gurung's address sought to allay apprehensions that the statehood demand would be put on the back-burner, especially when Banerjee has ruled out a division of Bengal. In Darjeeling, no support for the GJM's agreement with the state and Centre was visible.
The outfit was launched in November 2007 with the promise of securing a separate state.
Garment seller Angmu Bhutia said, "Every time we select a leader, he promises to give us a state. He ends up signing a treaty. There is nothing to feel great about yesterday."