Facing stiff opposition from agitating Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), Subash Ghising on Monday stepped down as caretaker administrator of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council after ruling it unchallenged for 20 years and triggering a split in his party’s legislature wing.
The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chief handed over his resignation letter to Darjeeling District Magistrate Rajesh Pandey, who is also the Principal Secretary to the Council.
The letter was addressed to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who had said last month that Ghising had agreed to step down in the wake of large-scale agitation against his continuance in office by the GJM.
In Kolkata, Bhattacharjee, in a suo moto statement in the assembly, said he had accepted Ghising’s resignation.
The GJM, which is opposed to special status to the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, had launched an indefinite bandh and a hunger strike forcing Ghising to stay holed up in Siliguri since February 19.
After resigning, Ghising evaded questions from waiting journalists saying he had a sore throat.
Meanwhile, announcing the split in the three-member GNLF, legislators Pranay Rai and Galan Lepcha told reporters here that they had resigned from the party on February 29 and communicated their decision to Speaker HA Halim requesting him to allot separate seats for them.
“We pledge our unconditional support to GJM headed by Bimal Gurung,” they said, after raising slogans for a separate state.