In demand for Gorkhaland, hill state parties to rally this December in Delhi
Statehood Demand Coordination Committee (SDCC), a non-political organisation, and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) are also planning to organise rallies pressing their demand for Gorkhaland
Political parties from Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars regions of north Bengal are planning to march to Delhi ahead of the Parliament winter session to renew their demands for Gorkhaland (a separate land for Gorkhas).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised to find a permanent political solution for the region in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto.
Statehood Demand Coordination Committee (SDCC), a non-political organisation, and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) are also planning to organise rallies pressing their demand for Gorkhaland.
“Time has come to spearhead the Gorkhaland movement through collective leadership and for this, a national committee needs to be formed. We will be working on that line in the program that has been organised in Delhi on December 10 and 11,” said Bimal Gurung, GJM president.
“The party’s Delhi programme has been planned during the Parliament winter session so that it becomes more effective,” he said.
The party has also organised interactive public programs in the National capital during the winter session.
Notably, GJM helped the BJP to win the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in three consecutive elections since 2009.
Gurung, who led the second phase of the Gorkhaland movement in 2007 left Darjeeling after the 2017 movement that culminated in the 104-day-long general strike and the death of 13 people.
He returned to Darjeeling before the 2021 assembly election announcing his support to the Trinamool Congress and severing the party’s ties with the BJP.
SDCC chief coordinator Pravakar Dewan said, “We are forming a national level committee and we firmly believe that political parties have failed to deliver the goal of a separate state of Gorkhaland. Now the time has come to take up the responsibility by non-political organisations under one platform.”
The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM), another BJP alliance partner in Darjeeling is going relentless.
Pressing its demand for a separate Gorkhaland, CPRM spokesperson Arun Ghatani said, “Though we are still optimistic, we firmly believe it is time for the Centre to deliver.”
SP Sharma, spokesperson of Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) which is now in power in the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration said, “The ball now lies in the BJP’s court and the Centre must deliver. A promise was made by the BJP ahead of the 2019 polls. Now the 2024 polls are approaching and we to question the BJP-led Centre as to why the promise of finding a permanent political solution has not been delivered.”
Kishore Pradhan, Gorkhaland Activists Samuah convenor, which is also spearheading the movement for a separate state said, “Sincerity, commitment and integrity are what we need to achieve Gorkhaland. The BJP has just been hoodwinking us.”
Meanwhile, BJP Darjeeling district committee president Kalyan Dewan said, “The party is still committed to fulfilling its 2019 election promises for the Gorkhas. However, the government is opposed to the idea of finding a permanent political solution and the Centre cannot do anything bypassing a democratically elected government.”
The demand for a separate state was first made in the 1980s, with the Subhas Ghisingh-led Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) launching a violent agitation in 1986, which went on for 43 days and led to the death of around 1,200 people in the Hills.
The separate statehood demand gained momentum again in 2007 after the formation of the GJM under the leadership of Bimal Gurung.