Writes Vivek Chhetri
Darjeeling, Dec. 13: Bimal Gurung today said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) would hold celebration rallies in Kalimpong when the state cabinet approves the upgrading of the subdivision to a district in a bid to hijack the cause which was recently brought to prominence by Harka Bahadur Chhetri.
The Morcha president, who left for Delhi today to participate in a three-day dharna on Gorkhaland from December 17 said in a written statement: "On December 18, soon after the state cabinet approves the formation of a Kalimpong district, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will organise celebration rallies throughout Kalimpong."
A proposal for the creation of a Kalimpong district is expected to be tabled in the cabinet meeting scheduled for December 18. There has been no assurance from the state that a decision would be taken that day.
|Bimal Gurung and Harka Bahadur Chettri|
This is perhaps the first time that Gurung has been compelled to play catch-up on a demand that was originally made by his party but got prominence because of a friend-turned-foe.
Earlier this month, Nabanna officials made it clear that even though the Morcha had said the formation of a Kalimpong district was the party's demand, the government would make it clear that it was acceding to Chhetri's demand, not that of anyone else's.
Mamata Banerjee has tried to create several power centres to weaken the Morcha's grip in the Darjeeling hills. The sources said that by consenting to look into Chhetri's demand for the separate district, the chief minister had gone further with this plan.
Gurung added that on the day Kalimpong is declared a district after all formalities are completed, "the Morcha will celebrate it as a festival across the hills".
The Morcha chief said the district declaration should not made into a "political" issue. "For political gains, this issue should not be confined merely to an announcement. The GTA will extend all support to the state government on this issue," Gurung said.
Chhetri could not be contacted for comments.