Showing posts with label hill Trinamool Congress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hill Trinamool Congress. Show all posts

TMC Demands Expediting Madan Tamang Murder Case Trial

2:54 PM

The Trinmool Congress yesterday organized a rally and demanded that the ongoing trial relating to Madan Tamang murder case be expedited. In addition, the TMC pasted posters across Darjeeling towns and question the delay by CBI in concluding the investigation and the delay in trial.

Speaking to the Press, TMC leader Ms. Sharada Subba said, "even after so many years have passed, those who murdered Gorkha leader Madan Tamang are roaming free and justice is yet to be delivered... so even though the matter is sub-judice we have been forced to comment."

When asked to comment on the timing of the demand for arresting Madan Tamang murder case being raised as protest over Language issue is intensifying, TMC working President NB Khawas said, "these are two separate issues, we will protest the delay in justice for the family of Late. Madan Tamang and we will continue this protest as long as justice is not delivered."

Hill TMC says no to compulsory Bengali

2:36 PM
TMC

Hill TMC says no to compulsory Bengali: To speak to Mamata Banerjee in Mirik

With the opposition to implementing Bengali being spearheaded by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha gaining momentum, the TMC (hills) yesterday said it had spoken to party high commands in Kolkata to not make it mandatory in the hill schools.

The hill TMC leaders finding themselves in an awkward situation given the sentiments attached with the issue organized a public meeting in Darjeeling town today to clear the air. ““Yesterday, I spoke with Partha Chatterjee, the state education minister to know more about the issue and also apprise him about our stand. I told him that the state government should allow the present system under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to continue. Bengali as an option is okay but we will not accept if it is made compulsory,” asserted Rajen Mukhia, the hill TMC president, today.

The local TMC leaders did not find anything amiss to have Bengali as an optional language in the hill schools saying it was important to learn new languages. “We (TMC hill leaders) are also sons of the soil and Gorkhas. Knowing Bengali will stand us in good stead as the language is most spoken in the plains where we often visit. However, we too will not accept if Bengali is made compulsory on us,” reiterated Mukhia.

Schools and colleges remained closed today in the hills. The GJM has asked educational institutions to close for two days on June 1 and 2, in protest against the alleged imposition of Bengali in the region’s schools.

Mukhia though alleged GJM was politicizing the issue by spreading false rumours. “GJM is playing with the sentiments of the people for political gains. No government orders or circulars have been issued so far. I want to tell the heads of schools here that the rumours are false. We will take up the matter with chief minister Mamata Banerjee when she visits Mirik on June 5,” the hill TMC president said.

When asked to comment on the GJM rallies from June 4 to 8 during the Bengal CM’s visit to the region, the hill TMC president said, “We have come to know that they (GJM) will show black flags to the chief minister. We want to say here that she (Banerjee) besides being the state’s CM is also our leader. If she is shown black flags than we too will reciprocate it on their party president (Bimal Gurung ) during his programs,” Mukhia retorted.

[Via: EOCI]

BOOMERANG: It wasn’t support for GJM… It was anger against TMC that made the strike a success

8:49 AM
Writes: Upendra for TheDC

The strike in Darjeeling, held two days ago has been termed ‘a success’ by GJM, while TMC has called it an ‘absolute failure.’ What is funny is that almost all the Bengal based news media, other than the ones based in North Bengal, have toed the official line and reported that the strike was ‘unsuccessful.’ Surprised readers who were in Darjeeling watching the events unfold on the ground, were shocked to note how Bengali news channels were saying the vehicles are running smoothly, shops are open and life is going on as normal. A few of them even wrote to us, complaining about how Bengali channels were distorting the facts.

To be honest we have seen all of this happen over and over again. From 1986 to 2016, newspapers and media in Bengal have always been biased against the Gorkhaland issue. This is why TheDC was formed in November of 2013 to provide factual news from the hills, without any embellishments, addendums or modifications. Because we had come to realize that what is happening on the ground in Darjeeling, is not getting reported in the media, where as modified news, often misleading were being peddled as the truth.

Here is an example, “WILL GUNS BOOM IN BENGAL'S HILLS?” reads the headline from Aug 2013 when the Gorkhaland agitation was at its peak , in Times of India [Details: http://bit.ly/1qNAMAa]. If you read the article, you will see how they paint a picture of Darjeeling almost getting ready for an Armageddon, without any substance to prove their assertions, or use of named sources, they paint a picture of armed revolution about to unfold in Darjeeling hills. While most of the people in Darjeeling may scoff at the reporting, those from elsewhere in India who are unaware of the ground realities will naturally assume it’s the truth. This is how media in Bengal has manipulated the Gorkhaland agitation to paint a picture of our demand being that of ‘separatism from India, being funded by Nepal, Pakistan and China’ [Details: http://bit.ly/2cPcTKY].

So TMC claimed the strike was not successful on the 28th, and yesterday they took out a ‘Thank You’ rally to thank the people in the hills for opposing the ‘bandh.’ While hill people may have found it delusional, it serves a purpose. These rallies and events are not meant to thank the hill people, they are done to let Mamata and rest of Bengal know, whatever was reported in Kolkata based media on the 28th was true, and that the strikes were indeed unsuccessful.

But even the TMC leaders know in the hearts of their hearts that the hill people overwhelmingly supported the strike, and contrary to popular belief that it was done out of fear of the GJM, I believe it was done to let Mamata and Bengal know their diktats were not welcome in the hills.

In an unprecedented move, the Bengal government went all out to thwart the proposed strike. They imposed draconian diktats - like circulars were issued requiring every government servant to attend their office, failing which they will be show caused and anyone missing work due to strike would have 3 days pay cut. They required schools and colleges to remain open, threatened business, restaurants, hotels and taxis of cancellation of licenses and permits. In Mungpoo, TMC cadres did extensive miking telling the cinchona workers that if they don’t show up for work, they may lose their jobs in the near future. Such threats were issued all over the Darjeeling hills.

As if that was not enough, numerous platoons of Central Reserve forces and state police were brought down to ensure ‘law and order’ in the hills, and to top it all Bengal government sent 3 Ministers to monitor the strike and to ensure that the Bandh is not imposed.

In doing so they must have assumed that people do actually want to side with Bengal, but are not doing so due to fear of GJM. However, that is where Bengal overplayed their hand. They underestimated the ‘GORKHA’ factor.

We – the Gorkhas are a very simple group of people, if we love someone we will willingly die for them, but when someone tries to impose their will upon us, we tend to take a stand against it, no matter whatever are the consequences.

Despite 3 ministers, 10 development boards, entire district administration, massive deployment of security forces, entire TMC cadres from the hills + hired goons from the plains being present, fact remains that they couldn't keep Darjeeling hills open.

Ministers were seen banging on the doors and shutters of shut down shops forcing them to open... on the 28th, TMC completely lost the plot. While GJM announced the strike, they didn't impose it... whereas Bengal government used district administration and held meetings with hoteliers, travel agents, drivers associations, and shop keepers requiring them to keep their businesses open, but despite all their threats and cajoling when all their efforts failed and people supported the strike, they started to bang on the doors and shutters demanding opening of the businesses... Yet, they didn’t succeed.

Nothing is more telling than the picture shared below. Its from Kalimpong... generally this place is so crowded that there is not even enough room to stand... and on the 28th, not just the shops were closed, even the people chose not come out of their homes.

Without any prejudice, I feel that it was very unbecoming of the Ministers to go around forcing people to open their shops. It’s one thing to assure people of law and order helping them if required to keep their businesses open, but quite another to go around asking people to open shops, not with police but with party workers. The lines between a Minister of the Govt of Bengal and TMC party cadre was completely blurred in the hills on the 28th, and I am confident that the Hon’ble Ministers acted as party cadres instead of Government servants that day.

In bringing down a large contingent of security forces, in requiring schools to remain open, in banging on the doors and shutters of businesses and demanding that they remain open, Trinmool Congress and by extension the Bengal government were jeopardizing the lives of the people in the hills.

What if major clashes had broken out between bandh supporters and those opposing the bandh right at the time schools got off? Had school going children been caught in the cross-fire and injured, who would have been responsible? If shops and businesses were burned down and vandalized, would the Bengal government have compensated? If violence broke out, who would have been responsible?

In order to prove their might, the Bengal government crossed that sacred line which makes every government responsible for the safety, security and well-being of its citizens, and that is what boomeranged on them. The hill people decided to rebel and shut down their shops, businesses, vehicles and hotels.

Had TMC been a little more pragmatic, they could have let the bandh happen, as that would have put the hill people against GJM. People would have wanted to know, why they should shut down to justify GTA funds misuse allegations. But TMC being what it is, they took the bait and issued draconian orders.

The draconian measures undertaken by TMC party using West Bengal government administrative mechanisms to thwart the strike on September 28th, 2016 was seen as a trailer of how dictatorial it is going to get for Darjeeling and its people, if we choose not to adhere to their diktat. With less than 15% support in the hills, today TMC is already going dictatorial, imagine what will happen if their support reaches 20% or 30%?

This high handedness by TMC sent a direct message to the hill people, toe our line or we will make you do so.

Till TMC overdrive to ensure Bandh doesn’t happen, the hill people were against GJM, but the moment TMC decided to issue diktats, it became a matter of US vs Bengal, and that is where TMC lost the plot. People who don’t like GJM, decided to support the bandh, because they all felt that allowing Bengal to run its writ in Darjeeling would ruin our autonomy, and the latent desire for self-governance through Gorkhaland statehood was awakened.

GJM won the moral victory on the 28th, they requested and people shut down... TMC forced and people didn't open, and no matter how many channels report to the contrary, the fact remains that on September 28th, the hills stood united.

It may not have been in support of GJM, but it was definitely against TMC and its draconian diktats.

TheDC


GJM called Darjeeling bandh, State govt. and administration set to foil the strike

11:33 AM
Morcha to TMC: avoid conflict - Ministers to camp in hills on bandh day

Telegraph Darjeeling, Sept. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today "requested" the Trinamul Congress and the GNLF to stay away from confrontation during the 12-hour bandh on Wednesday 28th September 2016, but the ruling party announced that three ministers would be in the hills on that day "to supervise the situation".

The Morcha called the dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the Darjeeling hills on Wednesday to protest the allegedly false claim of Mamata Banerjee that Rs 4,000 crore had been given to the GTA. The chief minister had already announced that she wouldn't allow bandh in the hills.

Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, held a press conference here today and appealed to Trinamul and the GNLF not to confront the strike.

"The strike is a protest against the domination of the Bengal government. Mamata Banerjee and Aroop Biswas came to the hills, instigated the people and left, leaving the hill residents here. They will not be here during the strike and we request local leaders and cadres of Trinamul and GNLF not to confront the bandh as we are not against our own people," said Tamang.

Tamang also asked the GNLF to cancel its public meeting on the strike day. "We appeal to them to postpone the meeting to any other day so that there is no confrontation that day."
GJM called Darjeeling bandh, State govt. and administration set to foil the strike
Darjeeling Bandh - A File Photo
The GNLF's student wing is scheduled to hold a meeting in Darjeeling on Wednesday.

The Morcha leader said the administration was holding meetings with businessmen and transport operators and taking their phone numbers.

"Holding rallies, demonstrations and burning effigies are part of a democratic movement. But if the administration tries to force open shops, the situation could flare up not just in the hills but across north Bengal and we request the administration to handle the situation calmly and in an unbiased manner," said Tamang, who also requested vehicles from Sikkim not to operate within the GTA area on Wednesday.

Within hours, N.B. Khawash, the spokesman for Trinamul (hills), said three ministers would be stationed in the hills on the strike day.

"Three Trinamul ministers will be coming to the hills. They will probably reach tomorrow. They will be in the hills during the strike day to supervise the situation," he said.

While tourism minister Gautam Deb will be in Kalimpong, north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh will camp in Kurseong. Tribal minister James Kujur will be in Darjeeling.

Ghosh said: "Three ministers from the state cabinet will be camping in the hills basically to instill confidence in people's mind and help them in all possible manners."

Deb said the strike was "uncalled for" and would not be accepted by the hill people. "The strike has been thrust on the common people at the start of tourism season," said Deb.

Khawash said Trinamul would appeal to the people through the public address system not to take part in the strike and make them aware of the situation. "We are positive that the people will respond to our appeal."

Even though the Morcha decided to call a strike at the start of the tourism season, the party-controlled GTA will hold World Tourism Day celebrations in Darjeeling and Kalimpong tomorrow. The GTA has, however, cancelled its programme in Mirik.

Pradip Lama, the secretary of the Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents (DATA), said: "I will not attend the GTA programmes tomorrow. This is because they will be celebrating the World Tourism Day tomorrow and observing a strike the next day. The strike will hamper tourism. My conscience does not allow me to attend the celebrations."

The government on Monday issued a notification declaring that no leave would be granted to employees posted in the GTA area from September 27 to 29 in view of the bandh called by the Morcha on September 28.

According to senior Nabanna officials, the notice gives a hint that the chief minister is set to take the Morcha head on during the bandh.

Later this evening, principal secretary of the state transport department, Alapan Bandyopadhayay, issued another notification declaring that "wilful non-plying of public service vehicles" might lead to cancellation of permits and licences.

The notification also states that the government will take steps to ensure that traffic is normal on September 28. If damage is caused to any vehicle "by unruly and violent agitators", the state will compensate through insurance, it states.

In August 2013, the Morcha had called a prolonged bandh in the hills demanding Gorkhaland and the government had issued a notification that said salary of the employees would be deducted if they did not attend offices during the shutdown.

But this time, the picture is different as Mamata appears to be tough while dealing with the bandh call.

State government and district administration ready to foil the 12-hour Darjeeling bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

HT, 27 Sep 2016, DARJEELING: The state government and district administration are getting ready to foil the 12-hour Darjeeling bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on September 28.

While James Kujur, minister in-charge of tribal development, will oversee matters in Darjeeling on September 28, tourism minister Gautam Deb will be camping in Kalimpong and North Bengal.

“Forceful bandh has been declared illegal by the Supreme Court. We have made all necessary arrangements to tackle any eventuality. Senior police officials will be camping in Darjeeling,” said Darjeeling SP Amit P Javalgi.
A notification from the finance department, Government of West Bengal stated that all state government offices in the GTA area, including those provided with grants-in-aid by the state government, will remain open and all employees should report for duty from September 27 to September 29. Absence will result in show cause and salary deduction. Some exceptions including hospitalisation, death in the family have been made.

“Special arrangements for transport have been made. State transport department will run extra buses. We have asked all unions to ply their vehicles. We have tied up with companies to provide insurance in case vehicles are vandalised,” said district magistrate Anurag Shrivastava.

A circular from the transport department stated that the Regional Transport Officer will ensure that public transport remains uninterrupted. “Permits/ licenses are liable to be cancelled for willful non-plying of public service vehicles. Regional Transport Authority will be in charge of cancellation of permits and licenses,” said the circular.
“What can we do? We are caught between the GJM and the district administration. The district administration is pressurising us to keep our shops open. The GJM is saying just the opposite. For how long will the district administration provide us security? We will be marked,” said a shopkeeper.

“The bandh is not the fallout of a tussle between Mamata Banerjee and Bimal Gurung. It is for Gorkhaland and Bengal’s suppression of the demand. We want to see the formation of Gorkhaland by 2019. All proGorkhaland people will support the bandh,” claimed Roshan Giri, general secretary, GJM Binay Tamang, assistant general secretary, GJM warned, “If the police and district administration use force, we will extend the 12-hour bandh and make it indefinite. The jurisdiction of the bandh will then spill over to Siliguri and Dooars.”

The GJM will be sending appeal letters to transport unions of Sikkim not to ply in GTA areas, mainly on National Highway 10 on the day of the bandh.

Though the bandh call was initially called to protest chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that Rs 4000 crores has been allotted to the GTA in the past four-and-a half years, the GJM hurriedly added the “Gorkhaland” demand to the bandh call agenda- a perfect prescription for a successful strike.
Mamata has announced that under no condition will she allow the bandh to paralyze the Hills while Gurung is adamant to see the strike through.

GJM to spread bandh to plains if police "atrocities" continue

EOI DARJEELING 26 Sep 2016 Accusing the district police of intimidating traders, business establishments and vehicle syndicates to remain open on September 28, the proposed bandh day, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today warned of continuing the strike and even spreading it to Siliguri and the Dooars.

GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang said the party would make every effort to ensure a peaceful bandh on Wednesday. But he warned that recent police activities had the potential to create a flare-up.

“Why are the police going around and taking phone numbers of traders and syndicate members? Don’t we have the right to protest in a democratic manner by putting up posters, rallying and calling strikes?

If the police attempt to open offices, schools, business establishments forcibly and if the situation turns volatile, the state government and the district administration will have to take the blame,” he threatened.

The GJM has called a 12-hour bandh in the hills on Wednesday seeking clarification from the state government within September 27 on the claim made by chief minister Mamata Banerjee that Rs 4,000 crore has been allocated for development work and that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration had failed to execute it in the last four years.

The GJM assistant secretary said the party leadership was initially against calling the bandh, but for the intimidating statement by state minister Arup Biswas in Kalimpong on September 24. “It (Biswas' statement) has become an issue of challenge. We will definitely go ahead with our proposed bandh and even continue it and spread it to the plains if the police attempt to foil it,” said Tamang.

The GJM leader also said the party will be writing to Sikkim and apprise it about Wednesday’s bandh. “Since parts of NH-10 fall under Kalimpong sub-division, there is bound to be inconvenience.

We appeal to traders of Sikkim, vehicle owners and others to restrict their movements on the bandh day,” Tamang said.

Interestingly, the Gorkha National Student’s Front, a frontal organisation of the Gorkha National Liberation Front, will be holding its public meeting in Darjeeling on Wednesday. “We appeal to the GNLF  student wing and their party president Mann Ghisingh to postpone their public meeting,” Tamang said today.

But M.G.Subba, the Darjeeling sub-division convener of the GNLF, refused to budge and said the public meeting would go ahead as planned. “The public meeting is our pre-announced programme to highlight  the Sixth Schedule issue. The GJM should understand this. Why did they announce the strike all of a sudden?” he asked.

The GJM has also asked tourists in the hills to leave before September 27 if they have flight or train schedules for Wednesday. Later in the day, leaders of the hill TMC unit told reporters they condemned the bandh and that they would hit the streets on Wednesday to foil it. “We condemn GJM’s strike call and will protest on Wednesday. We don’t want conflict and so have started making the public aware of the disadvantages of strikes. This so because bandhs are not good for tourism, especially with the puja festivities approaching,” said N.B. Khawas, spokesperson for the hill TMC. He also said state tourism minister Gautam Deb, tribal minister James Kujur and north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh would come to the hills on Wednesday to observe developments.

Bengal Government Goes All Out to Thwart Strike Call by GJM - Threatens Cancellation of Licences, Permits, Mandates Govt Employees Presence on 27th, 28th and 29th 

Vivek Chhetri Telegraph The West Bengal government on Monday issued a notification declaring that no leave would be granted to employees posted in the GTA area from September 27 to 29 in view of the bandh called by the Morcha on September 28.

According to senior Nabanna officials, the notice gives a hint that the chief minister is set to take the Morcha head on during the bandh.

Later this evening, principal secretary of the state transport department, Alapan Bandyopadhayay, issued another notification declaring that "wilful non-plying of public service vehicles" might lead to cancellation of permits and licences.



The notification also states that the government will take steps to ensure that traffic is normal on September 28. If damage is caused to any vehicle "by unruly and violent agitators", the state will compensate through insurance, it states.

In August 2013, the Morcha had called a prolonged bandh in the hills demanding Gorkhaland and the government had issued a notification that said salary of the employees would be deducted if they did not attend offices during the shutdown.

But this time, the picture is different as Mamata appears to be tough while dealing with the bandh call.

HC directive to government on Darjeeling bandh
The Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal government to ensure that normal life is not disrupted in view of a Darjeeling hills bandh called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) tomorrow.

A division bench presided by Chief Justice G C Gupta observed that the court can start a suo motu contempt proceeding against GJM as bandhs are illegal and unconstitutional and against existing judgements of Supreme Court and different high courts.


The division bench, also comprising Justice Arindam Sinha, directed the state government to ensure normal life in the hills by ensuring that individual constitutional rights are not infringed.

Moving a petition challenging the 12-hour bandh called by GJM supremo Bimal Gurung on Wednesday, Trinamool Congress MP and advocate Idris Ali submitted that existing Supreme Court and high court judgements have on many occasions declared bandhs as illegal.

Despite that a bandh has been called in Darjeeling Hills during the peak tourist season before Durga Pujas to disrupt normal life and to affect the livelihood of thousands of people involved directly or indirectly with the tourism industry, Ali submitted.

He prayed that if GJM goes ahead with the bandh call and tries to enforce it, then the hills party be directed to pay monetary compensation for any loss to the people or the state.

Gurung has called the bandh alleging that the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had not done enough for the development of the hills and also sought detail of projects taken up or completed as stated by the chief minister recently in Kalimpong at a public meeting.

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

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

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



Hill Trinamool Congress geared up for Municipality and GTA elections

8:32 AM
TMC
DARJEELING 1 Jul 2016 It is no work, no rank for hill Trinamool Congress leaders holding portfolios, as the party gears up to take on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the upcoming municipality and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections.

Having tasted bitter-sweet defeat in the hills from the GJM in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the state Assembly elections, the hill TMC leadership is wary of a possible backlash from the high command in Kolkata in the event of another rout. “We just cannot keep losing elections. The party high command in Kolkata has expectations from us and we will have to deliver.

Therefore, from today we are going to take drastic measures within the party,” said Rajen Mukhia, the hill TMC president, who on Thursday was re-elected for the second consecutive term.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia lost to the BJP’s Surendra Singh Ahluwalia, who was supported by the GJM, by more than one lakh votes.
Hill Trinamool Congress geared up Municipality and GTA elections
Rajen Mukhia  - a file photo
Similarly, in the Assembly election earlier this year, TMC candidates from Darjeeling and Kurseong constituencies lost to the GJM, although the margin of victory was narrower.

On Thursday, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee announced in Siliguri separate committees of the party for the hills and plains regions. Gautam Deb, the state tourism minister, was made the president of the plains committee. Meanwhile, Mukhia said, “It is an honour and a huge responsibility to be made the president for a second term. I thank Didi for appreciating and recognising my sincerity in running the party in the hills.  I will try and live up to the expectations of the party leadership."

Today, the hill TMC president held a meeting in Sukhaypokhari near Darjeeling and asked party leaders there to form a new committee with a strong leadership. “I have made it clear that leaders holding portfolios and staying at home and working will not have it easy. They will be stripped off their rank and will have to be satisfied with being a general member of the party,” Mukhia warned, adding he had asked the Sukhaypokhari unit to form a new committee within a week.

“We will hold similar meetings and form new block committees in various municipality and panchayat areas and conduct fresh membership drives. We will also constitute the district committee within a week and send it to Kolkata for approval,” Mukhia said. Mukhia, who will be in Kolkata tomorrow to attend a meeting of district presidents with Mamata, said he was hopeful that elections to the  two-tier panchayat in the hills would be held at the end of this year. “We are hopeful that by October-November, the two-tier panchayat election will be held. We will contest the panchayat,  municipality and GTA elections,” he said.

Of the possibility of an alliance with the Gorkha National Liberation Front and Jan Andolan Party, who had extended support to the TMC in the Assembly elections, Mukhia said, “We are of the belief that those against the GJM misrule will ally with us. As for seat adjustments, it will be done by our high command whenever required."

(EOIC)

 
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