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GJM faction wants S S Ahluwalia to resign; was elected by people, says Darjeeling MP

“If somebody wants to eliminate Bimal Gurung, or for that matter anyone, I shall protect him. The GJM led by Gurung was an ally, it still is,” Ahluwalia said on Friday.

kolkata Updated: Feb 17, 2018 16:40 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times
S S Ahluwalia,Darjeeling,GJM
Darjeeling’s BJP MP and Union minister of state S S Ahluwalia still considers the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha faction led by Bimal Gurung as an NDA ally.(HT File Photo)

Responding to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s (GJM) demand for his resignation, BJP MP from Darjeeling and MoS, drinking water and sanitation, S S Ahluwalia, said on Friday that he was elected by the people and not by an individual.

Ahluwalia’s response came at a press conference in Siliguri, where he inaugurated a Passport Seva Kendra on Saturday. He is visiting his constituency after eight months.

“Unless he tenders resignation and seeks apology, Ahluwalia could face protests from the aggrieved people in the hills. When people were suffering the local MP remained a spectator in Delhi,” said GJM leader Binoy Tamang on Thursday.

Read: Centre yet to announce date for tripartite talks on Gorkhaland

Tamang is the government-appointed chairman of board of administrators in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). He is known to be close to the ruling Trinamool Congress. With the absconding GJM president Bimal Gurung charged with terrorist activities, Tamang and his associates now control the local administration.

“Ahluwalia is visiting his constituency as a tourist after eight months. He has lost the moral right to visit the hills,” alleged Tamang.

“I shall come again after the budget session in Parliament is over,” said the MP.

GJM is an ally of the NDA. Without GJM’s support, neither Jaswant Sinha nor Ahluwalia could win the Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and 2014 respectively.

The political situation in the hills has however undergone a sea change since mid -2017.

Read: Bengal BJP chief accuses TMC government of trying to eliminate Bimal Gurung

With about a year to go for the next general elections, GJM now stands vertically split. The Binay Tamang faction and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), the second largest party in the region, now share a cordial relation with the ruling Trinamool.

On Friday, Ahluwalia expressed his support for Bimal Gurung. “If somebody wants to eliminate Bimal Gurung, or for that matter anyone, I shall protect him. The GJM led by Gurung was an ally, it still is,” he said.

Manoj Dewan, the BJP Darjeeling (hills) district president, said, “Tamang, who does not enjoy people’s mandate, has no right to speak against Ahluwalia, who has the people’s mandate.”

Read: GJM calls off 104-day Darjeeling strike after Rajnath calls meet on Gorkhaland

Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM faction led by Bimal Gurung said, “As people’s representative, Ahluwalia is doing his work sincerely in Delhi.”

Both Gurung and Giri, apart from a few other GJM leaders, are facing UA(P)A charges and are on the run.

On September 26 last year, Gurung called off the 104-day-long shutdown in the hills following Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s appeal and his assurance that a tripartite meeting would be held.

The meeting, however, never took place.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 16:40 IST