Gurung alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is only indulging in politics by dividing the people. “Now, we will have to go for movement, he said. “Time has come for me to do what I have to for a separate Gorkha state. I have given my word earlier that I will not compromise and I mean to keep my promise. Now I feel that the GTA will not fulfill the aspirations of the Gorkha community,” he said briefing reporters in Darjeeling.
Ms. Banerjee is trying diffuse identity politics in the hills by creating a separate board for each of the different hill communities. The first development board for the Lepcha community came up in February 2013.
“I wanted to run the GTA efficiently for the benefit of the people and also to learn how to run a state when we achieved one. But the state government is trying every which way to make the council a failure and curb the voice for a separate state,” Gurung alleged.
Gurung is unhappy with the state government for forming development boards in the hills, which, according to him, was a ploy to divide the community and Bengal’s reluctance to transfer subjects to the GTA. Matters worsened when chief minister Mamata Banerjee organised the Bhanubhakta Acharya birth anniversary programme in Darjeeling this July without adequate participation of the Gorkha community where Gurung was not invited to speak.
The GJM chief said he would resign from the GTA and prepare the road map for the agitation and reveal it in/ the coming days. “This agitation will be decisive and we will definitely achieve what we want.
I will give up the GTA and head the statehood agitation within two months. I will reveal the road map at a later date,” Gurung announced directly targeting the Opposition who maintains that an agitation was not possible while running the council.
Gurung said he had informed Darjeeling MP Surendra Singh Ahluwalia about his intent to start the statehood agitation, taking a dig at the Centre. “I have already informed our MP about my decision and will also meet the Prime Minister and union home minister in this regard soon. I will place before them the assurances they have given me,” he said. The GJM chief said he would only be satisfied with the BJP if they constitute a committee to look into the statehood demand. “Our demand is in the BJP’s election manifesto. The central government has promised to form a committee that would verify and look into our demand. But now, we want the central government to first constitute such a committee and only then will we be assured,” he said.
Party leaders were taken aback by the decision as it appears they were not taken into confidence by Gurung prior to making the announcement. “We were not aware of his decision as we had not been told about it. Normally, a central committee meeting is called before such announcements are made but that was not done,” said a senior GJM leader not wishing to be named.