Showing posts with label TMC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TMC. Show all posts

Rift between Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and the Trinamool Congress Began

11:05 AM
TMC
Trinamool magic won't work in Darjeeling hills: JAP

Darjeeling, Sept. 26:In an obvious sign of relations souring up between the Jan Andolan Party and the Trinamool Congress, the JAP today rebuffed the TMC’s attempts to make inroads in the hills, asserting no national-level party would be able to usurp power in the region.

The latest swipe comes in the wake of chief minister Mamata Banerjee recently clarifying in a public programme that it was her and her government’s decision to form a separate Kalimpong district.

“We (hills) cherish regional feelings and sentiments when it comes to politics, whatever parties we may be associated with. No national party has been able to rule in the hills as the history of the place shows,” asserted Amar Lama, senior JAP bureau member, today durig a press briefing in Darjeeling.

Going a step further, Lama challenged the TMC to form the government in Tripura first. “Why, Darjeeling hills, we challenge the TMC to first form government in Tripura,” the JAP leader said.
Rift between Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and the Trinamool Congress Began
What has also irked the JAP leadership is the chief minister's reluctance to give credit to the party, the political ally of the TMC in the hills, with regard to the formation of the new district.

Coming out in defence of the party’s president, Lama reiterated that it was the strong pitch made by JAP chief Harka Bahadur Chhetri and the District Demand Committee (DDC) that made the state government decide to create Kalimpong district. “Our party president and the DDC pursued the issue of creating a Kalimpong district relentlessly. It was this untiring effort and pursuance that gave the state government the impetus to come to a decision. The chief minister cannot deny this fact,” said Lama.

The JAP has all along taken credit for the state government's decision to form a Kalimpong district, which apparently was not announced by the chief minister during her latest three-day visit to the hills,

much against popular expectations. Speaing at a programme organised by the Lepcha development board in Kalimpong, Banerjee clarified that nobody had pursued the matter with her to create Kalimpong district. Interestingly, Chhetri who is also the Kalimpong MLA, was among the invitees to the function and was seated on the dais when Banerjee uttered her statement.

The JAP president initially dabbled for a Kalimpong district as a member of the DDC after severing ties with the GJM before he went on to float the JAP to contest the assembly election riding on the Kalimpong district issue. Lama also took offence to the war of words between the state government and the GJM over allocation of funds to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. He said,

“Rather than indulging in making claims and allegations, the state government should ask the Comptroller Auditor General to audit the expenditure accounts of the GTA. It can be done on the basis of section 55, clause 9 of the GTA Act under the Funds and Audit section." Lama also suggested that if at all anomalies were found in the audit, the GTA Sabha should be dissolved then.

Mamata Banerjee has claimed that the state government had allocated Rs 4,000 crore to the GTA for development over a period of four years since the formation of the council in 2012. Refuting the claim,  GJM president Bimal Gurung has announced a 12 hour strike in the hills on September 28, seeking a clarification from the state government.

Via (EOIC)

JAP raps GTA & Mamata on funds
Darjeeling, Sept. 26: The Jana Andolan Party today accused both Mamata Banerjee and Bimal Gurung of indulging in politics over the GTA funds and asked the state government to conduct an audit of the hill body.

Amar Lama, a bureau member of the JAP, today said: "The chief minister had come up with a Rs 1,000 crore figure during a public meeting in Kurseong in March and after a few months, she talks about Rs 4,000 crore in Kalimpong. Instead of speaking on an issue like this at a public gathering, the chief minister should act seriously. The state government should ask the CAG to conduct an audit and if they find financial irregularities, the state should supersede the GTA as is laid out in the Act."

Lama further said the chief minister was raising the funds issue only when her relation with the Morcha was on the rocks. "Why is the issue being raised only when the relation between the two parties has hit a low? Had the relation (between the Morcha and Trinamul) been steady, it seems, the chief minister would have never raised the issue," said Lama.

In the recent Assembly elections, the JAP was in an alliance with the Trinamul Congress.

Accusing the Morcha of failing to be transparent, Lama said: "The Morcha must be transparent on the issue. The GTA, which is controlled by the Morcha, should give a proper reply to funds queries and should not hide details on money matters. However, there was no need to call a general strike on an issue related to claims and counter-claims on funds."

Late in the evening, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said the Wednesday strike was also to strengthen the voice of Gorkhaland, which the state government was trying to scuttle in all possible ways. - Telegraph


Pradip Pradhan joined Trinamul blaming GJM not delivering on its promise

10:19 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Aug. 24: Bhupendra Pradhan, a founder member of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the GTA chairperson, today joined Trinamul, blaming the hill party for failing to deliver on its promise of development.

Pradhan, who is better known as Pradip, joined the state's ruling party in the public meeting at the Kurseong Motor Stand in the presence of Trinamul minister Aroop Biswas.

Pradhan said his decision to join the Trinamul was to ensure development in the hills, particularly Kurseong. He accused the Morcha of failing to carry out any development work in the past four years.

The GTA elections are expected to be held around July 2017. The Morcha today decided to expel Pradhan.

The hill leader arrived at the venue in the car of Biswas, who is Trinamul's observer for north Bengal.

He said the Morcha leadership was not sincere about the Gorkhaland demand and added that if a sincere leader comes ahead for statehood, he would definitely support the demand.

"In the past four years, we have been able to do nothing for the hills. I have had a talk with Mamata Banerjee and she has promised to look into issues related to the development of Kurseong. I have also raised the issue of granting district status to Kurseong. I am confident that with the TMC, there will be development here," Pradhan said.

He, however, said that if development was not ushered in even by Trinamul, he could think of leaving his new party too.

Pradhan accused the Morcha of corruption, saying some party leaders "did not have the means to even buy a good brand of cigarettes" but now "when they go to Bagdogra airport they enquire about the cost of a helicopter run by the Sikkim government. Where has this confidence come from?"

At the sidelines of the meeting, Pradhan said Bimal Gurung would not resign from the GTA as he had recently threatened. "He will not resign, note it down, as there is money in GTA," Pradhan said.

Pradhan urged the people to ponder over why Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Anmole Prasad, Trilok Dewan and Amar Lama had left the hill's biggest party.

Pradhan said in the next three months, the Morcha will have "only 20 per cent support" in the hills.

Morcha to oust Pradhan
The central committee of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today decided to expel Bhupendra Pradhan, popularly known as Pradip Pradhan, who switched to Trinamul today, from the party.

Soon after the central committee session, the GTA Sabha members met at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan and submitted a written request to the GTA Sabha vice-chairman, Lopsang Yolmo, to convene a special meeting where, sources said, they would seek the removal of Pradhan as the GTA chairman.

The meeting is likely to be held on August 26.

Morcha general secretary and the GTA Sabha member in-charge of education, Roshan Giri, said: "At the central committee meeting, we discussed the Gorkhaland issue. The party has also decided to expel Pradip Pradhan from the primary membership."

A source in the GTA said: "According to Section 37 of the GTA Act, a special meeting can be requisitioned by one-third of the Sabha members and once the vice-chairman convenes a meeting, the chairman can be removed by a resolution adopted by a simple majority of the total number of elected members of the GTA Sabha."

There are 45 elected members in the GTA Sabha.

The Morcha has also decided to hold a public meeting in Kurseong on Sunday.

According to sources, the move is an attempt to boost the morale of party cadres in the area and counter the Trinamul gathering where Pradhan switched allegiance.

Today, around 300 voluntary teachers, who were members of the Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' Organisation (JISTO) Movement Committee, burnt the effigy of Giri here before resigning from the Morcha.

The hill party had disbanded the Movement Committee last month after some of the members had criticised Giri alleging that he had not been working towards regularising the jobs of the 500-odd voluntary teachers in more than 120 schools across the hills.

Amit Gurung, the co-ordinator of the erstwhile Movement Committee, said: "We burnt the effigy of Roshan Giri today. Around 300 members have resigned from the party. We will soon meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee and decide our future course of action."

The teachers have decided to remain apolitical at the moment, sources said.

Told about the development, Giri said: "If by burning my effigy, their jobs are regularised, they are most welcome to burn my effigy everyday."

At Darjeeling Motor Stand, the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha started a relay hunger strike "for Gorkhaland" today with seven student leaders participating in it.

Satyam Lama, the president of the Vidyarthi Morcha, said: "Our hunger strike is a message that our agitation is democratic in nature. We demand that the Centre open a dialogue on Gorkhaland and efforts be taken to constitute a committee to look into our demand."


Via Telegraph

GNLF party allege GJM insincerity towards statehood demand, amidst GJM claim

10:30 PM
TMC
DARJEELING 4 Aug 2016 The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) today rubbished recent claims made by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) party leaderships that the central government was keen to find a solution to the statehood demand.

On August 2, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri had issued a press statement after meeting union home minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and placing a memorandum with the statehood and other demands. In his statement the GJM general secretary had said, “The union home minister has assured to hold a meeting after August 15 that will decide on the formation of a committee, to verify our demand for a separate state”.

The GNLF’s central committee legal advisor Neeraj Tamang Zimba, today furnished a RTI (right to information) reply from Ashutosh Jain, the CS-II and CPIO under the ministry of home affairs (SR section) to squash the GJM claim.

The GNLF legal advisor said that in his RTI that was filed on May 2, 2016, he had made four queries.
RTI by Neeraj Zimba Tamang on ‪‎Gorkhaland‬
Zimba said questions one and two referred to which political party from the Darjeeling was the first to raise the statehood demand and since then how many parties had raised the issue with the central government. While the third and fourth queries were on the views of the Union government in this regard and available certified copies of the circulars and the file notes in which the issue of a separate state of Gorkhaland was discussed in the last two years. “You will be surprised by the reply from the CPIO that was made on May 24, 2016. In his reply to my first two queries, Jain has said that the CPIO does not maintain such information. On the other hand for my third and fourth queries, the CPIO has said that the central government does not have any proposal under consideration regarding creation of the state of Gorkhaland,” the GNLF leader said.

The GNLF legal advisor alleged that GJM was only resorting to gimmicks vis-à-vis going to Delhi and meeting central leaders from the BJP including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on different pretexts over the years. “GJM leaders only go to Delhi to take pictures with BJP central leaders. Nothing more than that ever happens,” said Zimba.

The BJP too came under fire from the GNLF leader, who the latter alleged was betraying the Hills people with false promises and specifically highlighted saffron party’s word-play on its 2014 election manifesto.

In its manifesto, the BJP has said that it would “sympathetically examine and appropriately consider” the long pending demands of the Gorkhas. The word Gorkhaland does not find mention anywhere. However, in the case of the Bodos and other tribals of Assam, the party says that “initiatives” will be taken for a permanent solution of their long pending issues.

Zimaba observed, “There is vast difference in the BJP’s outlook towards the people of Darjeeling Hills and those from other states which is reflected in their election manifesto. Words like sympathetically examine and appropriately consider which can mean several things are used for Darjeeling. Also our issue is shown as demands. Whereas, the BJP says initiative, in this case steps will be taken for a permanent solution of long pending issues of the Bodos”.

The GNLF perceived to be cozying up to the TMC is advocating for implementation of sixth schedule in the Hills and has chosen not to take a stand on the statehood issue. “We have neither compromised nor given up the Gorkhaland demand. It is just that our party does not have the mandate for a separate state and so we are pursuing the sixth schedule issue which we feel is the best solution,” said Zimba.

When asked to comment on the allegation, Giri said, “We are sincere with the statehood demand and are pursuing it over the years with the central government. We have nothing to say to those people whose sole purpose is to criticize us for no rhyme or reasons”.

Via EOI

Gorkhaland : Support, Opposition & Lip Sympathy

10:10 AM
Writes: NN Ojha

Gorkhaland 18th July 2016: It is precisely five years since the tripartite agreement setting up GTA was signed between the Government of India, Government of West Bengal and the GJMM. Incidentally 18 July 2011 too was a Monday like it is five years later today.

As the hills prepared for celebrations to mark the signing of the accord parts of Siliguri were bracing up for a protest shut down called by ‘Bangla O Banbla Bhasha Bachao Committee’ (BOBBBC), an outfit claiming to be apolitical committed to safeguarding the language and culture of the Bengalis.

Opposition to the accord from organisations like BOBBBC could be simply ignored. What needed to be noted seriously was the manner in which West Bengal’s (then) newly elected CM Mamta Banerjee sought to disown the agreement in letter and spirit even before she left the venue where it had just been signed. The memorandum signed by her home secretary in her presence and in the presence of the country’s home minister P. Chidambaram was, “keeping on record the demand of the GJMM for a separate state of Gorkhaland……..”. But here was Mamta Banerjee stating, “Statehood cannot be granted to the region……….. Bengal is not going to be divided…..”.
Tripartite agreement setting up GTA was signed between the Government of India, Government of West Bengal and the GJMM.
Tripartite agreement setting up GTA was signed between the Government of India,
Government of West Bengal and the GJMM. 
With GJMM supremo Bimal Gurung stating at the same venue, “GTA was not a compromise on its demand for a separate state and was, in fact, a step in that direction”, it was clear how the just signed agreement and its creation GTA were being pulled in opposite direction with overwhelming force. The result that could be expected was status quo in the best case scenario if neither side out -forced the other or snapping of the rope that held it together and total collapse if any one of the two pulled little harder.

Reactions from most mainstream national parties sounded disappointing for us and at the same time encouraging for Ms Banerjee. Indian National Congress the party to which Home Minister P Chidambaram in whose ‘august presence’ the agreement was signed belonged made no bones about its dislike to the idea of ‘dismembering’ West Bengal.

Leftist leader Surya Kant Misra found the term ‘Gorkhaland’ in the nomenclature of the proposed GTA fraught with prospects of ‘disunity’. Mr Misra apparently forgot that the nomenclature was decided upon during the rounds of tripartite talks held when the Left Front was in power.

Most shocking reaction was to come from the BJP. The party’s West Bengal unit opposed the use of the word Gorkhaland in the name of the proposed body GTA as the word ‘could stoke separatist sentiments in the region’. Coming from the party to whom the people of Gorkhaland had already given one precious Loksabha seat in 2009 the reaction was nothing but ironical.

Has anything changed since 2011 as the Congress’s alliance with TMC is passé, the hill people had helped the Left in Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections and the BJP has once again been gifted the Darjeeling Loksabha seat by us in the 2014 elections? Absolutely nothing, if we look at their manifestos for the latest 2016 state assembly elections. The word Gorkhaland is completely missing across the board from left to congress to BJP. We don’t exist because we don’t matter to any of them.

When we look at the hill based political parties the picture is rather hazy as most of them are vague and ambivalent? The GNLF already carrying the historical baggage of having dropped the demand for Gorkhaland in 1988 and subsequently having bargained for Sixth schedule status ‘as full and final settlement’ still continues to be unsure of their stand. Mrs Bharti Tamang having inherited the glorious legacy of the Late Madan Tamang’s unwavering support for Gorkhaland is unfortunately weighed down by her personal grief that apparently stops her from making common cause with any platform having Bimal Gurung on it. About JAP less said the better. They are in favor of Gorkhaland with consensus of the central and the State government knowing well that no government in west Bengal will ever consent to what they call ‘Banglar bivag’. Could it be that the party has included Gorkhaland in their manifesto only out of political expediency and not commitment?

Thus at the national level TMC, the Left parties and Congress are against Gorkhaland. For BJP it is a matter of political expediency. Those of their leaders who owe their political survival to the hills profess support while the entire state unit of west Bengal is opposed and the national leadership remains totally noncommittal. At the local level there is near unanimity on the issue but a united front to pursue the common cause is not being forged because of ego hassles which must be overcome in larger interest of the region.

Where do we go from here and what do we do? A multitude of opinions is expressed almost on daily basis in the press and also in the social media. There are some who argue that GTA should be wound up as a prelude to an all out ‘do or die’ type struggle. Others call for a change of leadership to let the rationale of the demand be felt at a broader national level, especially in the corridors of power in New Delhi.

I will give you my take for whatever it is worth.

First, GTA should not be dumped by us. In fact that is what the TMC led west Bengal government would wish so as to facilitate its its propaganda that having been unable to run a small institution like the GTA how can we be trusted with the running of a full fledged state. We should play hard-ball to ensure that the west Bengal government complies with the legal, political, administrative and financial obligations of the GTA agreement in toto. My own guess is faced with such prospects it is the west Bengal government itself who will either transfer control on all the agreed upon subjects to us, or, will itself announce breaking up of the GTA. If we get control as per the agreement it will be a precursor to statehood and if it results in break up of the GTA the blame for not being able to run the institution won’t lay at our door.

Second, steps must be taken to strengthen the GTA so as to make it an instrument of clean governance and effective delivery of services to the public. For this the leadership of GTA will have to broaden its HR base by inducting experts and experienced generalist administrators. At present there is perceptible lack of strong bureaucratic support structure and an effective PR mechanism.

Third, all the political parties of the region must forge a common platform to carry forward the demand for statehood. We have shown our ability to forge such unity in July-August 2013 in the form of GJAC. Let that spirit of GJAC be revived. GJMM being the leading political force of the region must take proactive initiative in this direction.

Last but not least, message has to go to the BJP that they have to treat us as equal partners in the political venture that has to be as much for the welfare of the region as for the BJP’s own political benefit. At present the later seems to be the case. Our MP who apart from being a seasoned politician is now a powerful member of he central cabinet has to use his good offices to further the cause of Gorkhaland in the Parliament.

In the wide range of opinions that we keep coming across I haven’t come across a single voice against the idea of Gorkhaland or in favor of the region continuing as an adjunct of West Bengal. Notwithstanding west Bengal establishment’s crude attempts to divide and rule the entire region emerges as a solid monolith. Therein lies our strength that no one can ever defeat. It is upto us and the political leaders of the region to put this underlying unity of the masses to constructive use.

NN Ojha writes exclusively for DT and TheDC


Mamata receives warm welcome from GNLF, and Development Boards

10:13 AM
Writes: Prashant Acharya

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was given a grand reception yesterday afternoon at the Bagdogra airport and in Rohini near Kurseong by hill communities that included the Khambu Rai, Lepcha Development Council members as also cadres of the Gorkha National Liberation Front.

This was the first time that GNLF supporters were seen welcoming the chief minister with khadas and Nepali scarves and reflects the ongoing bonhomie between the Trinamool chief and Mann Ghisingh, who the chief minister has appointed as vice chairman of the North Bengal Board of Sports and Games.
Thousands of people from both the plains and the hills had gathered at the airport since morning to welcome the chief minister, who landed around three in the afternoon and proceeded directly to Darjeeling without uttering a word to the press people present.

In Rohini, she was accorded a grand welcome with flowers, khadas and traditional garlands. The chief minister even alighted from her car to accept the greetings. Banerjee will be in Darjeeling for five days and welcome President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday who will be flying directly to the Lebong helipad from Bagdogra. On Wednesday, July 13 the President and Banerjee will attend a function observing the birth anniversary of Nepali poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya. The chief minister is also slated to attend the annual meeting of the Darjeeling Tea Association during her five-day stay.
Over 400 members of the Bhujel community met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Bagdogra airport yesterday and submitted a memorandum demanding a development board.
Mamata receives warm welcome from GNLF, and Development Boards
The state government has formed seven development boards in the hills - for Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas, Tamangs, Rais, Mangars and Limbus.

"A couple of days ago, sources in the government had said they would form a board to cover three (more) hill communities. This encouraged the Bhujels to approach the chief minister," an observer said:

On Saturday, a government official had said the state intended to form the West Bengal Biswakarma Welfare Board for the development of communities like the Kami, Damai and Sarki.

[With additional inputs from Telegraph]

Via TheDC

Bhanu Jayanti and the Endless Mamata Hypocrisy

9:20 AM
Writes: Upendra
Darjeeling 12th July 2016 Tomorrow we celebrate Bhanu Jayanti, in honour of the 1st poet to write and publish in what is today known and regarded as Nepali language. This will be the first time that Bengal government is officially celebrating Bhanu Jayanti since India became Independent.
There is a reason behind it.

Municipal elections are set to be held in December and GTA elections next year and TMC fancies it is in with a chance to win political mandate in the hills, hence Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee accompanied by the President Pranab Mukherjee, who also happens to be Bengali, are going to celebrate Bhanu Jayanti as a Bengal government sponsored jamboree this year at Chowrasta.
There are multiple layers of hypocrisy in Bengal government holding this event, and had ours been a more self-respecting community, we would boycott this indirect slap on our faces. But given that some of our people have sold their self-respect for a few crore rupees, I am certain that there will be a massive crowd present tomorrow to cheer and hoot to everything that Mamata says.

Despite repeated requests for including Nepali as an Optional paper in WBCS, the Bengal government has turned a complete blind eye and deaf ears to our request, yet tomorrow when Mamata announces how the Bengal government is a champion of Nepali language, the sellouts from our hills in attendance will welcome her every word with a rapturous clap of hands.

Ever since Mamata came to power, there has been a deliberate attempt at undermining Nepali language at each and every turn. The government forms are printed in Bengali, scholarship sites have only featured Bengali language, all the government signs and majority of the posters are written in Bengali, and now even the ration cards are being printed in Bengali. Yet tomorrow, when Mamata announces how she has promoted the use of Nepali and Nepali language, the sellouts from our hills will dance and celebrate.
Bhanu Jayanti and the Endless Mamata Hypocrisy
In Pic: Same content... same class... same book... one is in Nepali... another is in Bengali... both the languages are recognized as NATIONAL languages of India under the 8th Scheduled of the Constitution... both the languages are recognized as OFFICIAL languages of West Bengal... yet Book in Nepali is printed in black and white... Book in Bengali is printed in colour... IF THIS IS NOT DISCRIMINATION, WHAT IS? This is the very reason why we need Gorkhaland... as for Bengal, we will always remain 2nd class citizens.
After taking over the reign of Bengal, Mamata has systematically discriminated against the hill students. Books written for Nepali medium schools, including that of Nepali language are full of factual errors and mistakes, and as if that was not enough, the books printed in Nepali are in black and white, where as the same books printed in Bengali are in colour. To add to our woes numerous schools across Darjeeling and Dooars where Nepali students are in majority, are yet to get any of their government issued textbooks, despite the fact that more than half of their school year is over. Yet tomorrow, when Mamata talks of her love for the Nepali speaking people, the sellouts from our community will call her God and perhaps even pray to her.

Tomorrow, Mamata will again claim "Pahar Hasche" and indeed the news channels will show the laughing, smiling face of sellouts - but what she won't tell you is that, Bengal government has not conducted Panchayat elections since 2000 in the hills, that over 500 Panchayat posts are remaining vacant in the hills, that for the past 15 years there have been no promotion granted to any hill panchayat employee, while Panchayat employees from the plains are being gradually transferred to the hills. Same is the case with schools where over 2500 vacancies have not been filled since 2001. Schools are running without headmasters and colleges are running without any principals. Same is also true for almost every other government department, where permanent posts have remained vacant for decades.

Tomorrow, Mamata will again promise numerous development projects in Darjeeling region, but what she won't promise is the equal treatment of Nepali language or Nepali speaking people in Bengal. She won't promise that the next Chairman of PSC will be from the hills, she won't promise that the next VC in any of the Bengal based universities will be a hill academic. She won't promise that non-Bengali students and youths will be provided with equal opportunity, she won't promise that they will be given equal benefits, and she won't promise that these children will have a bright future in Bengal. While students in the plains are given Kanyashree and Sabujh Saathi, hill students are deprived of even most basic of all needs - text books, that itself should be telling.

Most hypocritical of all though is the fact that Bhanu Bhawan, which is built in the honour and memory of Kabi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya is 5 minutes walk away from Chowrasta, which has a massive hall where such functions could be undertaken, but no that wouldn't assuage Mamata's ego, would it? She had to dig up and destroy Chowrasta so that she could send proper visuals back to Kolkata and non-Nepali speaking homes and proudly claim "Pahar Hasche" and our sellouts would indeed be laughing like mentally challenged retards who don't know right from wrong.

Via TheDC


Panchayat election in GTA area claims hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia

9:26 AM
TMC hints at rural elections

Writes Vivek Chhetri
Darjeeling, July 1: The Trinamool Congress (Hills) president today hinted that the state was planning to hold the panchayat elections in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration area by the end of this year.

Although the state Election Commission has not made any announcement regarding the polls, Rajen Mukhia, the president, TMC (Hills), said: "I am hopeful that the panchayat election, even if it is for two tiers will take place in October-November this year."

The last time the hill rural polls were held in 2000.

Although the Centre, state and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had agreed to hold the three-tier rural polls in the GTA area in 2011, it was not held as a constitutional amendment is needed to start the process.

As of now, the Constitution has a provision to hold a two-tier panchayat elections in the hills - the gram panchayat and the panchayat samity.

Today, Mukhia said: "I was told to take charge of TMC (Hills) for the second term yesterday. I will try my best to justify the faith reposed on me by the leadership. We will take part in all three elections - panchayat, municipality and the GTA - and we are confident of doing well."
Hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia
Hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia
Trinamul sources said Mukhia's confidence about the poll timing comes after getting strong indications from the party leadership. "He will not speak with such confidence unless he has been given a strong hint," said a source.

Mukhia added that new committees at all levels - from district to panchayat - would be formed in the next two weeks. "The party expects results from us and we must deliver. We are very clear that only those leaders who perform will get a place in the new committees. ... Those who do not perform or are not active in the party will have to sit out irrespective of seniority," he said.

A source said Trinamul was eager to contest the elections in the hills after its performance in the Assembly polls.

While elections to the four hill municipalities - Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik - are due later this year, the GTA polls are scheduled for July next year.

A Morcha leader refused comment on Mukhia's statement. "We would not like to react unless it is discussed in a party meeting."

Via Telegraph



 
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