With chief minister Mamata Banerjee setting the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) ball in motion in Delhi, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) heaved a sigh of relief. A GJM team led by GJM President Bimal Gurung will be departing for Delhi in a day or two to hold talks with union home minister P Chidambaram.
Banerjee on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprised him of the delay in the formation of the GTA (an autonomous administrative mechanism for the Darjeeling Hills) which according to her would lead to "further confusion."
Following the meeting with the PM, Banerjee held a press conference in Delhi in which she stated "I told the Prime Minister that seven months have passed since the signing of the GTA Memorandum of Agreement and that the state government has completed its part. There is unnecessary delay by the centre in sending the GTA Bill (which has been passed by the West Bengal Assembly,) for the President’s assent. Darjeeling is peaceful. Further delay will cause confusion. The Prime Minister has assured me that in the next two days the Centre will clear the pending processes."
The GTA Bill at present in under inter-ministerial consultation. "We welcome the initiative taken by the chief minister and the assurances of the Prime Minister. This has been long overdue. Finally the Government has set itself a deadline. We expect the CM to bring some good tidings during her visit to Darjeeling" remarked Harka Bahadur Chettri, GJM Spokesperson.
The CM is slated to visit the Hills on February 29. Mamata is likely to declare the tentative date for GTA elections in Darjeeling feel political observers. Both the Chief Minister and the GJM would like to witness an early GTA. While an early GTA- projected as a solution to the Gorkha impasse would definitely seal Mamata's claim to a speedy resolution of this complex issue; for Gurung, it is a matter of political survival.
Gurung along with General Secretary Roshan Giri and Harka Bahadur Chettri will be camping in Delhi for the next few days. While Gurung and Chettri are slated to depart on Thursday or Friday, Giri will be joining them from Kolkata, where he will be attending an all party meeting on the GTA territory issue. "We will be meeting Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on February 27 or 28th" stated Giri.
Political Observers feel that with Mamata Banerjee's relation with Delhi hitting an all time low at present and the UP election results speculated to forge new political equations; the GJM in their own capacity would try to keep Delhi in good humour to ensure the smooth sailing of the formation of the GTA. With opposition heat increasing in the Hills, the GTA would emerge as a breather for the GJM.