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Road to Gorkhaland has to start from the assembly

india Updated: Apr 08, 2011 16:19 IST
Amitava Banerjee
Amitava Banerjee
Hindustan Times
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Bimal Gurung shot into limelight by displacing his political mentor, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) president Subash Ghisingh and launching Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on October 7, 2007. Since then, Gurung has headed the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland.

You had repeatedly stated that the GJM central committee leaders would not
contest the assembly polls. But now you have fielded Harka Bahadur Chettri from Kalimpong. Why?
Chettri is contesting as a member of the Study Forum and not as a central committee member. Other candidates — Trilok Dewan in Darjeeling and Rohit Sharma in Kurseong — are both Study Forum members. West Bengal wanted to see quality and we have fielded competent candidates. While Dewan is a former bureaucrat who retired as the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh, Chettri and Sharma hold doctorate degrees.

Many are of the opinion that it is a paradox that the GJM, which is demanding a
separate state cut out of West Bengal, is contesting for seats in the assembly.
All this is for Gorkhaland. We have been compelled to contest the election. Our victory will be the mandate for Gorkhaland. The road to Gorkhaland has to start from the assembly. Whoever comes to power needs to be sensitised. Our legislators will sensitise the assembly just like our MP has done in Parliament. If we can convince the legislature, Bengal will not be able to negate our demand. We have lived long enough in Bengal but the state did nothing for our welfare. We can also hold discussions regarding the name Gorkhaland. Though it bears our identity, we can find a different name for the separate state if Bengal has problems with the name. All these issues will be initiated by our MLAs.

Many have talked of an existing bonhomie between the Trinamool and the GJM. Why didn’t the party go for an alliance with Trinamool for the assembly elections?
Could there be a post-poll alliance if GJM emerge victorious?
This is part of a strategy. We are not ruling out a post-poll alliance. But we will not make any commitment now.