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GJM chief treads cautiously

india Updated: Jun 15, 2011 21:09 IST
Amitava Banerjee

Not willing to take unnecessary risks, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung decided to tread cautiously while sensitizing GJM and its frontal organization supporters in Darjeeling on the new administrative arrangement.

Gurung made it clear that he would not sign the Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) for the new administrative arrangement until he obtained a "go ahead" in black and white from his supporters. The MOS would see the light of day if only the Gorkha dominated areas of Terai and Dooars areas are incorporated and that the MOS in no way should dilute the Gorkhaland demand.

Amidst a packed auditorium in Darjeeling on Tuesday, Gurung stated, "We will carefully scrutinize the draft of MOS sent by the Government and compare it with a draft that we are preparing. We will sensitize our supporters on the final draft. Once each and every of our units along with our frontal organization provide us with No Objection Certificates (NOC) will the MOS be signed."

He made it clear that the NOCs would remain as proof of the party’s endorsement to the MOS (read as the new administrative arrangement.) GJM supporters along with the frontal organizations verbally endorsed Gurung’s line of action and the new administrative arrangement, hence it was clear that Gurung would not face any difficulties in getting NOS for the signing of the MOS.

However contradicting chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s claims that the final agreement for the Darjeeling impasse has already been reached, Gurung clarified, "The GJM delegation in Kolkata had signed on the minutes of the bipartite talks between the State Government and the GJM. That is not the final agreement. The MOS will be signed by CM Mamata Banerjee; union home minister P Chidambaram and me only after we are fully satisfied with the draft. Whatever be the administrative arrangement, Gorkha dominated areas of Terai and Dooars will have to be included, otherwise it will be unacceptable to us. The Gorkhaland demand should not be diluted in any way be this arrangement also."

Adding to this GJM general secretary Roshan Giri stated, "The final solution to the Gorkha impasse is a separate state or a Union Territory. We do not want a constitutional guarantee to the new administrative setup as this is a temporary arrangement."

Gurung did not fail to stress that it was a political compulsion under which he was accepting the new administrative arrangement which was again temporary in nature. "The people are tired after more than 3 years of agitation. They are more interested in development than in the agitation. This opened up my eyes. If I am too adamant for too long, it will create problems for the public. So I decided that we should rest awhile before moving on to our ultimate goal of Gorkhaland" explained Gurung.

However, Gurung also stated that the GJM wanted an early signing of the MOS. "Even Didi is very interested to come to Darjeeling and sign. We will extend a warm welcome to her. The present State Government’s attitude towards the Hills is very positive. There are many unexpected things that they are willing to give us " claimed Gurung.

The GJM Supremo further stated that the Hills should give the new Government a chance. "Already tourists are coming in by the lakhs. People are happy as it is definitely a boost to the local economy. We cannot wipe out the present Hill smiles," stated Gurung.