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GJM MLAs to boycott Rajya Sabha polls

The West Bengal chief minister is all set to lose her Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) "fans."

india Updated: Mar 18, 2012 22:54 IST
Amitava Banerjee

The West Bengal chief minister is all set to lose her Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) "fans." A mercurial GJM Supremo Bimal Gurung has written off elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA- an autonomous administrative body for Darjeeling) prior to incorporation of mouzas of Terai and Dooars in the GTA. He further declared that the 3 GJM MLAs along with an Independent MLA backed by the GJM will be boycotting the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections. The four MLAs will also abstain from attending West Bengal Assembly sessions till Dooars and Terai regions are incorporated in the GTA.

Gurung on Sunday, addressing party supporters from the Terai and Dooars regions of the plains in Mongpu, 3- km from Darjeeling town, made no attempts to disguise his feeling of being "let down" by "West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee." "The Trinamool Congress Government is walking on the paths of the earlier Left Front Government. They have conspired to damage our party. Time and again we have accorded her warm welcome to the Hills. Prior to her, no Chief Minister had ever received such welcome. Yet she has failed to reciprocate. During the signing of the GTA agreement and during her recent visit to Darjeeling, she stated that she will not allow Bengal to be divided; yet we remained silent. But now she has broken the 45 year old tradition of fielding a Rajya Sabha MP from Darjeeling. We vehemently oppose this." retorted Gurung.

Mamata Banerjee's cold shoulder to the GJM's appeal for support to a GJM Rajya Sabha candidate coupled with the State Government's hard line stance on the GTA election issue has left the GJM fuming.

While Trinamool Congress has already announced 4 Rajya Sabha candidates, the State Government has negated the GJM’s request for a nominated interim council till the finalization of the GTA territory and elections only after the finalization of territory. The State wants early elections to the GTA. GJM Spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chettri stated that there was news that the Government was ready to come out with GTA election notification on April 27th .

The GJM has demanded the incorporation of 199 "Gorkha dominated" mouzas of Terai and 199 mouzas of Dooars region in the GTA along with the present Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) area of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong sub divisions of the Darjeeling district.

"Now we don't want to be a part of any interim body. Let the Government run it if they wish. If the Government is so keen on elections, they can hold three tier Panchayat elections in the Hills. We are not afraid to face elections but we will allow GTA elections only after the inclusion of mouzas of Terai and Dooars in the GTA. If not there will be a major conflict. We are ready to give up our lives but will not give up Terai and Dooars." warned Gurung.

The GJM Chief alleged that the formulation of the GTA Act was a premeditated conspiracy. "I had anticipated this. They have unilaterally formulated the Act without consulting us. They have taken us and the people of Terai and Dooars very lightly. The Government wants to create a division between the Hills and Terai-Dooars. Our 4 MLAs will boycott the Rajya Sabha polls and will not attend Assembly until Terai and Dooars is not incorporated in the GTA. Our MLAs have self respect, they are not there as show pieces" stated Gurung.

Giving a clarion call to the Adivasis and Gorkhas of Dooars and Terai, Gurung stated that the battle lines have already been drawn and that Dooars and Terai have to prepare themselves for a long agitation. Henceforth the GJM agitation would be Dooars-centric, he added.