Showing posts with label GNLF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GNLF. Show all posts

No official communication to GNLF on Mann Ghishing appointing on Mamata's committee

4:07 PM
Writes Neeraj Zimba

There is no official communication till date to the GNLF Party and its President Shri.Mann Ghishing regarding the announcement of appointing our President as Vice-Chairman of the North Bengal Board for Development of Sports and Games by Ms.Mamata Banarjee on 29-06-2016 from Siliguri.

When any Official Communication will be received from the concerned then the GNLF Party will convey a Central Committee Meeting to look into the pro and corns of the issue and discuss political implications of such announcement made by the CM and a decision would be taken keeping in view the larger interest of the people of Darjeeling Hills and the sentiments and voices of the party cadres.

No official communication to GNLF on Mann Ghishing appointing on Mamata's committee.

Mann Ghishing, the GNLF President believes that the "hand of friendship" or the goodwill gesture extended by the State Government is important for the all round development and progress of the Hill people and also for putting forward the various issues and demands of the GNLF but he, at the same time firmly believes that the "sentiment and wishes of the selfless caders" is of utmost importance and a priority above all.

For now it is just a wait and watch policy.

Four gets life in prison for murder of a GNLF Supporter in 2004

3:20 PM
DARJEELING 29 Jun 2016 A Darjeeling court today convicted four members of a family from Dootriah-Balasun tea garden for murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment with hefty fines. Additional Sessions Judge (court 3) Mihir Kumar Mondal found Bijay Shankar (53) guilty of murdering Dambar Subba (36) in 2004. The convict’s brother Prakash (44), father Kaila (79) and mother Chandra Maya (75), who were present during the incident, were convicted of abetting the murder.

According to Public Prosecutor Pranay Rai, the murder was political in nature as the victim was a Gorkha National Liberation Front supporter, while the four convicts were CPM supporters, all from Dootriah-Balasun tea garden, 16km from Darjeeling. “The murder was a political fallout as the victim and the accused had political differences and often got into altercations,” said the PP after the verdict was read out by the judge.

Along with life imprisonment, the convicts have been asked to pay Rs 50,000 each as penalty, failing which their sentence would be extended by an additional three years.
Four gets life in prison for murder of a GNLF Supporter in 2004
Four gets life in prison for murder of a GNLF Supporter in 2004
The PP said the murder had taken place in the evening of November 14, 2004. “On that day, the victim was returning from a Deusi (Nepali festivity during Diwali) programme.

As Subba crossed the Shankar family house, Bijay’s father and mother incited him to attack the victim. Bijay asked his brother to get a chopper and he used it to hack the victim to death, with his parents egging him on all the while,” said Rai.

Following the incident, an FIR was lodged filed with the Jorebungalow police station by Subba’s brother Manjit against the four and they were arrested on November 16, 2004. “Since the police had filed the charge sheet after 90 days, the four were out on bail and taken in custody yesterday only,” the PP said.


Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Mann Ghisingh in Mamata Banerjee's new committees

2:59 PM
Mamata Banerjee has decided to include Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Mann Ghisingh in her new committees in a move to consolidate the anti-Morcha votes in the upcoming elections. With the GNLF and JAP presidents getting posts in the committees Gorkha Janmukti Morcha GJM  accused them for selling the statehood dream of the people for their respective posts.

Morcha barb at Mamata panels
Writes Vivek Chhetri and Rajeev Ravidas for Telegraph
Darjeeling, June 30: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today criticised Mamata Banerjee's decision to nominate Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Mann Ghisingh in the new committees she had announced yesterday and said that her efforts to consolidate the anti-Morcha votes will not have any impact on the hill party in the upcoming civic and GTA elections.

The Morcha accused the presidents of the Jana Andolan Party (Chhetri) and the GNLF (Mann) for selling the statehood dream of the people for the post of vice-chairmen in the panels.

"We congratulate both Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Mann Ghisingh for becoming the vice-chairmen of different government panels. They have been appointed as vice-chairmen despite being presidents of their respective parties. Could anything be more demoralising and humiliating for their parties?" asked Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Mann Ghisingh in Mamata Banerjee's new committees
Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Mann Ghisingh in Mamata Banerjee's new committees 
Yesterday, Mamata Banerjee announced four new committees in Siliguri and made some of the former ministers and Trinamul leaders who had lost the Assembly polls members of the panels.

Apart from her party leaders, Chhetri and Mann also made it to the committees.

While Chhetri has been made the vice-chairman of Uttarbanga Unnayan Parshad, Mann has been nominated as the vice-chairman of the North Bengal Board for Development of Sports and Games.

The Parshad will be headed by Abdul Karim Chowdhury and Bhaichung Bhutia has been named as the head of the sports panel.

Today, Tamang said: "Earlier, too, Harka Bahadur Chhetri's name had featured in TMC's candidate list but it was removed later. The recent development proves that the JAP and TMC are the same. Harka Bahadur Chhetri had said that he had made a roadmap for his party till 2025. It seems the roadmap was to get a chair for himself."

Criticising Mann's nomination to the panel, Tamang said: "The Gorkhaland martyrs' dream has been sold for a post of vice-chairman by the GNLF. Of late, the GNLF has been saying that they do not need Gorkhaland. We want to remind them that one should not forget one's community and its aspirations."

The Morcha said Mamata's decision to include the two hill leaders was aimed at consolidating anti-Morcha votes. "The decision was taken to ensure that the three parties (JAP, GNLF and TMC) fight the municipality and the GTA elections together. In the past, too, they had joined hands against us but it did not have any impact (on us). This development, too, will have no impact," said Tamang.

Mann Ghisingh, who is in Siliguri, said over the phone: "I have not received any official letter (regarding the committee and his post in it) and I need to know the details first before commenting. I came to know about the development through The Telegraph this morning."

In Kalimpong, Harka said: "I would like to thank the Bengal chief minister. This, in a way, is proof of her trust on my capacity and capability. I will try to live up to her trust and do whatever is required of me in the office ... I do not know yet what my responsibilities would be. I am yet to get a formal letter. Once I get it, I will go to the (council) office, and get myself acquainted with my responsibilities and work."

GJM denounces GNLF, JAP for selling-off statehood demand published in - EOI
DARJEELING 30 Jun 2016 With chief minister Mamata Banerjee announcing certain posts in various state government panels to GNLF president Mann Ghisingh and Jan Andolan Party president Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has slammed them for selling off and exchanging the statehood demand to secure these posts.

On Wednesday in Siliguri, the chief minister also announced the names of hill TMC leaders Shanta Chhetri as a member of the Advisory Council of Tea Directorate and Sardha Subba Rai as the director of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation. Ghisingh has been made the vice-chairman of the North Bengal Board for Development of Sports and Games while Chhetri has become the vice-chairman of the Uttarbanga Unnayan Parishad.

GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang said, “We congratulate them, especially the hill TMC leaders, who were given important posts by the chief minister. We have nothing to comment on this as the chief minister can do so in her official capacity. But what came as a surprise was the GNLF and JAP presidents getting posts. Once again it has been proven that the JAP and the TMC are one and the same body as during the Vidhan Sabha election too, Chhetri's name had been initially announced by Mamata as a TMC candidate. When the JAP was formed, they had said they had prepared a roadmap for Gorkhaland, but now this has been proved otherwise,” said Tamang.

He added, “It seems that the GNLF too has sold-off the demand or Sixth Schedule and Gorkhaland for the post of a vice-chairman. They have also sold the dreams of the 1,200 martyrs of the Gorkhaland agitation in the mid eighties. Recently, a GNLF delegation met with the chief minister in Kolkata and the dole Ghisingh has received seems to be the main topic they discussed about.”

Tamang further said that the chief minister's announcements was a clear indication that the three parties would join hands in fighting upcoming elections, but this would not affect the Morcha at all.

When reminded that his party too was trying to improve relations with the state government, Tamang said, “Being the ruling party here and in charge of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, it is prudent to maintain a good working relationship with the state government. But this does not mean we have a political relationship as well as we demand statehood while the state government is against it.”

When Chhetri was contacted, he said, “I thank the chief minister for announcing my name as vice-chairman of the north Bengal development board and once I receive official intimation I will see what  I can do to help the people.” Commenting on the allegations made by the Morcha, he said, “It is the GJM who is not sincere about the Gorkhaland demand and use it as an issue only during elections.

They mainly criticise our party as we have done so much in such little time; they are afraid of losing popular support as they have not done anything.

Moreover, they are no one to comment on who we keep good relations with as such terms have to be maintained for the benefit of the people. As for the matter of being in love with an official post, please  do not forget that GJM chief Bimal Gurung had once quit as the GTA chief executive only to occupy it immediately afterwards.”

Chhetri also stressed that the JAP has not decided anything regarding forthcoming elections. While the GNLF president could not be contacted even after repeated attempts, party general secretary  Mahendra Chhetri said, “We have not received any official intimation about our president being given a post and what we know is through the media. Any decision to that effect will be taken once we  receive official confirmation and by holding a meeting. As for the allegations by the GJM, everyone can see that we are keenly pursuing the demand for Sixth Schedule, which we believe, is a step towards achieving Gorkhaland.” (EOIC)

Via EOI & Telegraph

Subash Ghising - Was A Visionary, Who Dropped ‪Gorkhaland‬ Demand for National Interest

9:14 PM
Writes: Anish Lopchan Tamang

Subash Ghising was not only a leader, he was a Visionary and Farsighted leader.... A true patriotic leader of national repute....

Yes, He had dropped the demand of Gorkhaland only for the sake of national interest and national decurity.... One must understand that above all the interests, "National Interest" must come first....
So, He was first an Indian and then a Gorkha.... As it is the duty and responsibility of every Indian to serve his nation first, setting aside his priorities and self-interests.... He has set an example of true and patriotic leader.... There is nothing above national interest and national security.... and no one should compromise it to meet their political and selfish objectives....

The 1986 agitation was a real agitation of the Gorkhas and made us realise our aspiration of a separate state of Gorkhaland within the Indian Union.... It was a wake-up call call to all the Gorkhas living across the Globe.... And the agitation gave us our lost identity, first class citizenship, and for the first time honoring the Sacrifice made by Subash Ghising for National Interest and National Security, The Govt. of India agreed and decided to insert the word "GORKHA" in the Constitution of India.... This is the achievement of 1986 Agitation.... And today I can proudly say that it was Subash Ghising who led the Gorkhas into the mainstream of National Politics....
I wonder whether Bimal Gurung and GJM knows the meaning and importance of National Security? They only seem to know their self-interest and party- interest....
Subash Ghising
Subash Ghising

And I humbly request to all the employees of GJM Pvt. Ltd. Company not to compare the agitation of 1986 with that of 2007....

The 2007 Agitation was just a political drama....
And Subash Ghising had rightly said, "Gorkhaland is the need of the country"....
It can be achieved only through Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.... And this is the truth.... The GJM may deny this truth inorder to serve their political interest.... It is their Political Compulsion....
This is an opinion piece and all views presented are that of the writer

Via The DC

GNLF chief Mann returns after meeting with Mamata - Gets Rousing Welcome

8:24 PM
Writes: Prashant Acharya

22nd June 2016 Gorkha National Liberation Front president Mann Ghising has taken sides with Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress in a bid to outmaneuver Gorkha Janamukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung in the hills.

The GNLF, which almost but disappeared even before the death of Subash Ghising, has been struggling to revive itself, and now with their party president meeting Mamata at Nabanna, supporters see a glimpse of the GNLF gaining some popularity.

Mann was welcomed in a grand way by party supporters when he landed at Bagdogra airport yesterday afternoon. Speaking to reporters, he said his meeting with the chief minister was very cordial and they discussed several issues such as development of the hills including roads and solving the drinking water problem.
GNLF chief Mann returns after meeting with Mamata - Gets Rousing Welcome
GNLF chief Mann returns after meeting with Mamata - Gets Rousing Welcome - 
Pic: Bikram Shasankar
When asked whether he would join forces with the TMC in future elections, Mann said, "Let the elections come first, but I will discuss with party members before declaring anything." However, the GNLF chief did not rule out an alliance with the TMC regarding development issues. He said corruption was rampant in the hills and to end it, he would join hands with the TMC if that meant providing justice to the people.

Mann led a six-member delegation and met the chief minister on Monday for the first time at Nabanna. The meeting lasted for nearly an hour and discussions included granting tribal status to 11 hill communities, the present closed state of NH 55, jobs for voluntary teachers who have given an ultimatum to the GTA chief executive, and the pathetic situation of tea gardens in the hills, the Terai and Dooars


सुबास घिसिंगको पैत्रिक गाँव मंजु चियाबारीमा जन्मजयन्ती मनाए ।

8:13 PM
-दिप मिलन प्रधान

22nd June 2016 मंजु चियाबारीको लाप्चे खोप स्थित सुबास घिसिंग को पैत्रिक गाव घरमा सम्पन्न जन्मजयन्ती समारोहमा सौरेनी समस्टीका अध्यक्ष-गणेश प्रधान,सचिव –जी.एस प्रधान,मिरिक समस्टी भिलेज प्रोटेक्सन सेलका प्रमुख शन्तमणि राई,टिंगलिंग भिलेज चिफ तिलक लुंगेली लगायत अन्य उपस्थित थिए भने यस अवसरमा दिवंगत सुबास घिसिंगको जन्मजयन्तीको अवसरमा उनको जीवनी तथा उनले गोर्खा जातिको निम्ति दिएको योगदान बारे वक्ताहरु ले प्रकाश पारे I

कार्यक्रममा मिठाईहरु पनि वितरण गरियो भने स्व. घिसिंग को तस्बिर मा धुप तथा दीप प्रज्ज्वलन गर्दै चिरशान्ति को प्रार्थना गरियो I

यसरी नै मिरिक समस्टी कार्यालय मा पनि सुबास घिसिंग को जन्म जयन्ती पालन गरियो भने तराई मा पनि गोरामुमो ले पार्टी सुप्रिमो को जन्मजयन्ती सादगीपूर्ण वातावरण मा पालन गरिएको जानकारी प्राप्त भएको छ I गोरामुमो सौरेनी समस्टी र मिरिक समस्टी ले आज सुबास घिसिंग को पैत्रिक जन्म थलो मंजु चिया बगान को लेप्चा गाव मा स्व घिसिंग को ८१ वा जन्म जयन्ती पालन गर्यो I
सुबास घिसिंगको पैत्रिक गाँव मंजु चियाबारीमा जन्मजयन्ती मनाए ।
सुबास घिसिंगको पैत्रिक गाँव मंजु चियाबारीमा जन्मजयन्ती मनाए ।
या अवसर मा स्थनीय नागरिक, आफन्त तथा पार्टी क कर्मठ कार्यकर्ताहरु लगायत समस्टी का प्रतिनिधिहरु उपस्थित थिए I गोरामुमो का संस्थापक सुबास घिसिंग ले गोर्खा जाति को निम्ति दिएको योगदान तथा उनको जीवनी बारे प्रकास पर्दै वक्ताहरु ले स्व घिसिंग को सपना एक दिन पुरा हुने प्रतिबद्दता व्यक्त गरे I

जितस राई ले संचालन गरेको कार्यक्रम लाइ आसराम राई ले अध्यक्षता गरेका थिए भने कार्यक्रम मा सौरेनी समस्टी का अध्यक्ष गणेश प्रधान सचिव- जी एस प्रधान , भी पी सी चिफ संत मणि राई , टिंग लिंग भिलेज चिफ तिलक लुंगेली , लगायत अन्य को बिशेष उपस्थिति रहेको थियो I यसरी नै मिरिक समस्टी कार्यालय , लगायत तराई को बिभिन्न पाठशाला मा पनि स्व घिसिंग को जन्मजयन्ती पालन गरियो I

GNLF now second fiddle to TMC - Roshan Giri

10:23 AM

Kalimpong, June 21: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri today accused the GNLF of kowtowing to Trinamul and said the party had "lost its plot".

Reacting to the meeting between GNLF president Mann Ghisingh and chief minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday, Giri told reporters in Darjeeling: "How can GNLF, under whose leadership over 1,200 people sacrificed their lives for Gorkhaland, join hands with a party whose chief has repeatedly voiced her opposition to the creation of a state for the Gorkhas? The party has lost the plot completely."

He added: "The GNLF will now be reduced to playing second fiddle to Trinamul in the municipality and the GTA elections. The party stands thoroughly exposed and is fast on its way to losing relevance in the hills completely."
GNLF now second fiddle to TMC - Roshan Giri
GNLF now second fiddle to TMC - Roshan Giri
After yesterday's meeting, GNLF leaders had said they were open to contesting polls in alliance with Trinamul.

Via Telegraph

GNLF strengthening alliance with Mamata Banerjee.

8:33 AM
Writes Vivek Chettri

Darjeeling, June 20: The GNLF today said it had found a common ground with the Trinamul Congress to take on Bimal Gurung in the hills and was confident of strengthening the alliance with Mamata Banerjee.

Mann Ghisingh, the president of the GNLF, today led a six-member delegation that met Mamata at Nabanna for nearly an hour and discussed issues concerning the hills, like granting tribal status to 11 communities and the dues of workers of three tea gardens owned by the Trinamul Congress MP K.D. Singh.

After the meeting, Neeraj Zimba, a central committee member of the GNLF who was part of the delegation, said: "Whenever we feel we cannot go alone, we will go with TMC. There is no formal alliance yet and we might not be natural allies. But we have found a common ground."
GNLF delegation met Mamata Banerjee
GNLF delegation met Mamata Banerjee
Asked about common ground, Zimba said: "There is a need to end corruption in the hills and bring about better administration that Bimal Gurung has not delivered. As far as formalising the alliance is concerned, our party president will take a call as and when its needed."

Zimba was hinting at an election-centric alliance rather than a long-term political front.

Even though the GNLF had supported Trinamul during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the recent Assembly polls, the party has not been able to cement its relations with Trinamul.

GNLF's apparent closeness with Mamata comes at a time Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Gurung, too, is keen on establishing a working relation with the state government. Sources said the Morcha was keenly following the Mamata-Mann dialogue.

The delegation today discussed a number of issues with the chief minister. "We talked about the demand to grant tribal status to 11 hill communities, problems in tea gardens owned by Alchemist Group, the closure of NH55, voluntary teachers' jobs, corruption in the GTA and regularisation of employees of the hill body," said N.B.Chhetri, the spokesman for the GNLF.

Chhetri claimed that Aroop Biswas, the Trinamul leader in charge of the hills, had assured that tea garden workers' dues would be cleared within 15 days.

Alchemist Group, which owns Dooteriah, Kalej Valley and Peshok tea gardens, has dues to the tune of Rs 10 crore.


GNLF delegation led by Mann Ghisingh to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna

9:54 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, June 17: The GNLF today said a delegation of party leaders led by Mann Ghisingh would meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on June 20 at the invitation of the chief minister.

Political observers said the meeting might be the formalisation of a political alignment that had taken on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Assembly elections.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri's Jana Andolan Party, Trinamul and the GNLF had come together to fight the Morcha in the Assembly polls in the three hill constituencies. While Chhetri was the JAP candidate in Kalimpong, Trinamul contested from Kurseong and Darjeeling.

N.B. Chhetri, the spokesman for the GNLF, said: "We had written to the chief minister sometime back expressing our wish to meet her. We have been invited for a meeting at Nabanna on June 20. Our party president, Mann Ghisingh, will be leading a six-member delegation for the meeting which is scheduled for 4pm."
Mann Ghisingh to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna
Mann Ghisingh to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna
The GNLF had also backed Trinamul candidate Bhaichung Bhutia in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 general elections. Despite the support, the hill party couldn't cement its relation with Mamata Banerjee. In between the 2014 Parliament elections and the Assembly polls, GNLF leaders had met Mamata only once in Darjeeling.

"We had met the chief minister once when she was in Darjeeling (after the Lok Sabha polls) but it was more of a courtesy call. Apart from that, our party president was invited to Mamata's swearing-in recently. This time, we are hopeful of the meeting. We also believe this would be the beginning of more meetings," said Chhetri.

The GNLF delegation is looking at using the meeting to strengthen its ties with Mamata. "We have nothing in mind. There are many issues which we need to take up with the chief minister. But everything will depend on how the meeting progresses," said Chhetri, who is also a former Darjeeling MLA.

The combined efforts of the JAP, Trinamul and the GNLF and also the support of chairpersons of development boards of various hill communities did give a tough fight to  the Morcha, especially in Kalimpong. In all the three hill Assembly segments, the Morcha’s victory margin went down by nearly 50 per cent compared to the 2011 Assembly election results.

In a separate development, Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai said on Friday that all three legislators of the Morcha had met Mamata in her chamber in the Assembly building and thanked her for creating Kalimpong district

Via Telegraph

GJM & JAP both demands Inclusion of Dooars in Kalimpong district

11:12 AM
Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, June 7: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Jana Andolan Party, two principal parties in the hills, have suggested the incorporation of additional areas from the Dooars in the proposed Kalimpong district.

The proposals were made at an all-party meeting convened by Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava here today to seek feedback on the creation of Kalimpong district and Mirik subdivision. Sipchu, Toribari, Bagracote Pathorjhora, Ellenbari,Chilauna and Samsing - the Dooars areas the Morcha wanted to be in the Kalimpong district - are part of some of the 398 mouzas the party had demanded to be brought under the GTA's jurisdiction.

Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said: "We support the creation of Kalimpong district, a demand we had first raised. We want areas like Sipchu, Toribari, Bagracote Pathorjhora, Ellenbari,Chilauna and Samsing (which are presently in Jalpaiguri district) to be incorporated in the new district. These areas are contiguous to the present Kalimpong subdivision."
The all-party meeting in Darjeeling on Tuesday. Picture by Suman Tamang

Giri said the Morcha wanted three subdivisions and seven blocks in the new district, and three blocks in Mirik subdivision.

Anmole Prasad, a member of the JAP's bureau, said the party had made a written submission on various aspects of the formation of the Kalimpong district. The JAP also wants parts of the Jalpaiguri district to be included in the new district.

"We want the boundaries of the new district to be redrawn so that its two sides have highways and a compact zone is created," said Prasad.

The JAP basically wants areas lying north of NH31 in Jalpaiguri district to be the southern boundary of the Kalimpong district and areas like Kalijhora, Lohapul, Suntalay and Rambi, which are along NH10 and in the Kurseong subdivision, to be the western border.

The JAP wants Kalimpong district to have three subdivisions and 10 blocks. The party demanded at the meeting that four blocks be created to make up the new Mirik subdivision.

"We also seek the formation of a committee comprising stakeholders, NGOs, experts and citizens to monitor and assist the formation of the district and the subdivision. Future meetings should be held at respective locations (Kalimpong and Mirik) to enable detailed discussions and new administrative townships should be created there to de-congest the area," said Prasad.

Representatives of parties like the GNLF, ABGL, CPRM and the Trinamul Congress also attended the meeting.

Srivastava said the parties had been asked to submit the suggestions in writing by tomorrow evening.

"An all-party meeting is usually called before the start of the process to create a new district. We have asked political parties to submit their suggestions in writing by tomorrow evening so that we can go through them and then prepare a report based on administrative feasibility. The report will be submitted to the government as early as possible," said Srivastava.


Gorkha Janmukti Morcha poll winning margin down by 50%

8:31 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, May 20: In a span of five years, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's winning margin has come down by more than 50 per cent but the party says its not unduly worried.

"Whether we win by one vote or by one lakh votes, an election win is a win," said Morcha president Bimal Gurung.

The three Morcha candidates, Amar Singh Rai from Darjeeling, Rohit Sharma from Kurseong and Sarita Rai from Kalimpong, definitely won their seats by more than one vote, but five year backs, the party had won each seat by one-lakh margin.

In 2011, Trilok Dewan of the Morcha led GNLF's Bhim Subba in Darjeeling by 1,0,655 votes. Dewan had polled 1,20,532 votes against the GNLF's 13,977. In Kalimpong, Harka Bahadur Chhetri of the Morcha had polled 1,09,102 votes, while his nearest rival, Prakash Dahal of the GNLF, could garner 7,427 votes.
Bimal Gurung
The situation was slightly better for the GNLF in Kurseong, with Pemu Chhetri polling 21,201 votes. But even this could not save her from forfeiting her deposit of Rs 10,000. Rohit Sharma of the Morcha had polled 1, 14,297 votes.

This year, the Morcha won Darjeeling by 49,913 votes, Kurseong by 33,726 votes and Kalimpong by 11, 431 votes.

The victory margin dropped by nearly 90 per cent in Kalimpong. "This is not 2011 and anti-incumbency has definitely come into play," said a Morcha leader.

Right from 2014 Lok Sabha election, consolidation of opposition votes had started. In the Parliament elections, the GNLF had joined hands with the Trinamul Congress similar to this year, and Mahendra P. Lama, who is now with the Jana Andolan Party, was also in the fray.

In 2014, the anti-Morcha votes were 52,629 in Darjeeling, 42,788 in Kalimpong and 62,473 in Kurseong, taking the total number in the hills to 1,57,890. This year, the total anti-Morcha votes cast in the three Assembly segments was 1,94,699. The votes cast in favour of Morcha in the three seats, this year, was 2,50,026.

"This year, we had to brave everything, right from consolidation of opposition votes to support from development boards and then the use of district demand for Kalimpong against us. In the coming elections, these calculations will not hold true as election equations will be different," said Gurung.

He said: "We will, however, do all that is needed to address the grievances of the public even if that means making changes in the leadership."

The Morcha will have to face the civic polls later this year and the all-important GTA elections in July next year. "Four issues were instrumental in bringing the victory margin down. While anti-incumbency factor is one reason, the other reasons were formation of development boards, consolidation of opposition votes and the district issue in Kalimpong," said an observer.


GJM triumph: Darjeeling hills vote for Gorkhaland, reject Mamata's TMC

10:00 AM
Writes: Priyata Brajabasi

Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress' might have swept West Bengal but it failed to dislodge the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in the Darjeeling hills. Despite Banerjee's attempts to gain a foothold in the hills, the GJM won all 3 constituencies in the area - Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

The message from the Darjeeling hills is loud and clear - the appeal for Gorkhaland is very much alive. Mamata's rigidity on the Gorkhaland issue has once again led to a near boycott of the TMC in the hills.

Roshan Giri, General Secretary of the GJM, spoke to Catch from Darjeeling.

"We were extremely confident of retaining all the 3 seats in the hills. And that is exactly what happened. We are extremely happy with the results and that people still have faith in us. People are very firm on their appeal for the state of Gorkhaland and they know we are the only party that can help them get there," he said.
Darjeeling hills vote for Gorkhaland
Darjeeling hills vote for Gorkhaland
- Amar Singh Rai of the GJM defeated TMC's Sarda Rai Subba in Darjeeling by 49,441 votes.

- Sarita Rai defeated Jan Andolan Party chief Harka Bahadur Chettri by 11,431 votes in Kalimpong.

- Rohit Sharma of the GJM won the elections from Kurseong for the second consecutive time, this time defeating TMC's Shanta Chettri by 33,726 votes.

While TMC decimated the opposition in the rest of Bengal, the party's promises of development fell on deaf ears in the hills. The party was unable to create a strong opposition to the GJM and the candidates' silence on the Gorkhaland issue evidently worked against them.

The demand for a separate state continues to be the most important factor and the distrust towards Bengal parties continues.

The decimation of TMC in the area is also an indirect win for GJM's ally - the BJP. The BJP won from Darjeeling in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by allying with the GJM.

The 3 seats won by the GJM gave a sense of respectability to the BJP-led alliance in what was otherwise a mediocre performance in West Bengal. BJP could win only 3 seats in the rest of the state.

Interestingly, the CPI(M) indirectly lent support to the GJM by not putting up any candidates in the hills and asking their supporters to vote for the GJM. The Gorkha National Liberation Front's (GNLF) support to the TMC evidently did not have any effect. Shanta Chettri, a 3-time former GNLF MLA from Kurseong was comprehensively defeated by Rohit Sharma of the GJM.

Harka Bahadur Chettri, former GJM MLA from Kalimpong quit the GJM after being asked to resign from the state government in 2015. He continued his tenure as an independent MLA. Chettri founded his own party called the Jan Adolan Party (JAP) in Kalimpong in early 2016.

Chhetri was initially nominated as a TMC candidate - Mamata Banerjee had announced his name in the TMC candidate list in February. But he quickly clarified, saying that he would fight on a JAP ticket. TMC's backing however proved to be a deal breaker for Kalimpong voters who had otherwise voted for him the last time around.

The appeal of Gorkhaland is a sentimental one. GJM has used this sentiment to their advantage time and again.

Two things remain to be seen in the near future. First, how Mamata Banerjee deals with the Darjeeling hills in her second term as CM, especially given the manner her party has been rejected in the region. Second is whether the GJM is able to leverage its alliance with the BJP at the Centre to push for a separate state,

Via: Catch News

GNLF - assembly election helped restoring democracy in the hills

8:41 AM
Darjeeling 16 May 2016 The Gorkha National Liberation Front today heralded the recently concluded Assembly election as a force that has played a major role in restoring democracy in the hills even as it maintained winning or losing to be a secondary issue.
Indramani Rai, the GNLF Darjeeling town committee president, praised the part played by the district administration and the police, along with the election commission for ensuring polling went about peacefully. He said, “The election was peaceful and smooth and everyone could exercise their franchise freely. It is our opinion that democracy is not lost here and for this we must thank the election commission, administration and the police department.”
The GNLF did not field candidates from the hills for the state Assembly election, and instead chose to extend support to the Trinamool Congress in Darjeeling and Kurseong and to the Jan Andolan Party in Kalimpong.
 Gorkha National Liberation Front GNLF Flag
 Gorkha National Liberation Front GNLF Flag
Rai said the election was only an exercise to test the waters for the party’s future activities in the hills and that victory and loss were not the end factors. “We thank the voters who rallied behind candidates we supported. But the bigger issue for us is the difference in victory margin achieved by the winning candidates. This will pave the way for our party’s future political activities,” the GNLF town committee president said.
On whether the GNLF would participate in the upcoming panchayat election in November-December, Rai said, “We are not concentrating on the panchayat election as our agenda of implementing the Sixth Schedule in the hills is more important. Besides, we will first have to go through the provision of the Sixth Schedule to see if things like panchayat election can be conducted.”
In December 2005, GNLF president Subash Ghisingh and the central government had signed a Memorandum of Agreement to bring the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule. A bill had also been placed in Parliament in 2007, but it was put in the backburner following opposition by the BJP when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha objected to it.
“We still maintain that granting Sixth Schedule status to the Darjeeling hills is the best and only plausible solution to the problems that keep haunting the region. It was our Subash Ghisingh’s vision and political acumen to make the demand because Bengal had given us everything in its power then. The issue is still alive in Parliament and all that is needed is to pursue it properly,” Rai said.
He also said his party would take into consideration factors like time and the current situation and take a call on whether to participate in the municipality election or extend support to other parties. 


Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland - Story of every election in West Bengal

6:34 PM
Why Gorkhaland is still a hot issue in Darjeeling when azadi from West Bengal is a non-starter

Delhi and Kolkata have both effectively shut the door on a separate hill state for the Nepali-speaking district.

It is the story of every election in West Bengal: Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland, a separate hill state, partitioned from the plains of Bengal. And it is the same as it votes on Sunday in the West Bengal Assembly elections.

Political demands are always contested, but it is true that the Darjeeling region was never politically a part of Bengal in any form. It was annexed by the British Raj in 1850, taken from an exceedingly weak Sikkim, a princely state itself annexed by India in 1975. Bundled into the Bengal presidency by the British, Darjeeling has remained in Bengal even after 1947. This is even after the 1955 States Reorganisation Committee had successfully arranged Indian states according to language. Nepali-speaking Darjeeling district, therefore, is an incongruous part of Bangla-speaking West Bengal.
Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland
Amar Singh Rai, the Darjeeling constituency candidate for the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha is clear that the demand for Gorkhaland is based on ethnic identity. “We want a homeland for ourselves ­–­ for our own identity,” he said. “Although we are bona fide Indian citizens, we are still called ‘Nepali’. To get rid of the stigma we feel it’s essential that we have our own state.”

Popular demand
The Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha is the largest party in Darjeeling and it campaigns on almost a single-point agenda: the creation of a Gorkhaland state. The popularity of the Gorkhaland demand can be seen from the fact that in the 2011 Assembly elections, the GJM picked up 79% of all votes caste across the three constituencies in Darjeeling district. In Darjeeling town, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), widely seen as a Bengali party in the hills, received all of 3.5% of the votes cast.

Rai alleges that there is ethnic discrimination at play here, with the hills being ignored by the Kolkta's Bengali rulers. “Gorkhaland is a right of self-determination for us since West Bengal is oblivious to us,” Rai charged. “They don’t care about the tea industry or the rights of the tea garden workers.”

Support for Gorkhaland is starkly visible across Darjeeling town. Stores invariably list their address as “Gorkhaland” rather than the “West Bengal” it officially is.

Anup Chhetri sells winter wear in the busy Chowk Bazar area of Darjeeling town and is clear in his support for a new state. “We who live here need to decide what will happen with our land,” he argued. “How can people sitting in Kolkata or Delhi decide things about our home?”

Pie in the sky
In spite of this fervour, the Gorkhaland demand is now widely seen as a pipe dream. The demand has existed in some form or the other for a century now, culminating in a violent agitation in the 1980s led by the Gorkha National Liberation Front. The agitation led to the creation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a local government body to which the state government transferred some administrative powers. A 2007 agitation led by a new party and current incumbent, the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha, led to the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, with its powers expanded vis-à-vis the earlier Hill Council.

The revenue from the tea and tourism industry, though, means that Kolkata is extremely reluctant to let go of Darjeeling completely. And while the final decision to create a new state rests with the Union government – and not West Bengal – given the tiny population of Darjeeling, no ruling party in Delhi would wish to antagonise Kolkata. The political trade-off in terms of support from Darjeeling is simply too small.

Cracks in Gorkhaland
Recognising this ground politics at play, critics of the all-or-nothing demand for Gorkhaland have also emerged. From the Kalimpong constituency, the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha is being opposed by Harka Bahadur Chettri, who broke away from the GJM in 2015, complaining that their voluble demand for Gorkhaland was simply a ploy to garner votes and one that was actually harming the development of the region.

This is not the only dissension at play. During her term as chief minister, Mamata Banerjee created multiple “development boards” aimed at specific minority ethnicities, other than the majority Gorkhas ­– a move that Amar Singh Rai angrily characterised as a “policy of divide and rule”. In the past five years, Kolkata has formed six boards for the Lepcha, Tamang, Rai, Sherpa, Bhutia and Mangar communities. Even the Trinamool candidate from Siliguri town, another Gorkha-Bengali contested space, is a Bhutia – India’s best-know footballer, Baichung Bhutia.

These ground realities mean that no matter the fervour on the ground and its use as a vote catcher, the creation of an actual Gorkha state seems quite unlikely.


Demand for Gorkhaland: Ethnic politics still key cards in Darjeeling

5:28 PM
Writes: Amitava Banerjee

Political debate in the Queen of the Hills this election season continues to revolve around ethnic issues.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a BJP ally piggybacking on the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, has significant sway in north Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills, which include Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong constituencies.
The demand for Gorkhaland gained prominence in 1986 when Subash Ghising and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) spearheaded a 28-month violent agitation that left 1,200 people dead. Bimal Gurung, a dissident GNLF leader, later floated the GJM and seized power in 2008.

Ever since, even national parties have been unable to sidestep this ethnic brand of politics.

However, it has been a balancing act for the BJP. Careful not to alienate the rest of the state, it has shied from using the word “Gorkhaland” but included the phrase “sympathetically examine the long pending demand of the Gorkhas” in its manifesto.
Mamata Banerjee, on the other hand, is projecting herself as an antagonist of the new-state demand.
Demand for Gorkhaland: Ethnic politics still key cards in Darjeeling

She set up boards for the “all-round development” of various communities. Lepcha, Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia, Rai, Limboo and Mangar hill communities already have such boards, while others are in the pipeline.

“If the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, an administrative setup with all 45 elected members owing allegiance to the GJM) would have done its job sincerely, there would be no need for development boards. Development boards are the demand of the people,” said Banerjee.

Not to miss out on the opportunity, the GJM too has promised similar boards under the GTA, and the BJP is banking on the promise to include 10 Gorkha communities and the Dhimal community in the Scheduled Tribes list.

Harka Bahadur Chettri, the sitting Kalimpong MLA who severed ties with the GJM and floated the Jan Andolan Party (JAP), is gnawing into the GJM support base in Kalimpong with the promise to upgrade the sub-division into a district.

When Gurung accused the JAP and the TMC of being “anti-Gorkhas”, the JAP responded by drafting the West Bengal Reorganization Bill 2016 for the formation of a separate state under Article 3 of the Constitution and dared the BJP to pass it in Parliament.

via: The Hindustan Times

We cannot narrow down our demands to a communal label of Gorkhaland: Harka Bahadur Chettri

8:07 PM
Writes Meenal Thakur

Kalimpong, Darjeeling 14 April 2016: Harka Bahadur Chettri, 54, founder of the two-month old Jan Andolan Party (JAP), is fighting for election to the West Bengal assembly from Kalimpong constituency in Darjeeling district. Chettri, a former star campaigner of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Kalimpong legislator, broke away from the GJM, which is the dominant party in the hills, in September 2015. A biology teacher by profession, Chettri started his political career with the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) in 1986, which was then the main party of Gorkhas, founded to demand a separate state called Gorkhaland.

Chettri changed many political parties in the course of time, moving from GNLF to Gorkha Democratic Front (GDF) in 1992 and finally to GJM in 2007, campaigning for a separate Gorkhaland all through. In between, he left politics to write for local daily papers like the Wicked Review and Gangtok Times in the neighbouring state of Sikkim and even published his own newspaper in 2001 from Sikkim (it was shut down in six months). In an interview, Chettri spoke about his achievements as a legislator, the Gorkhaland movement, and why he founded JAP among other subjects.
We cannot narrow down our demands to a communal label of Gorkhaland: Harka Bahadur Chettri
Chettri started his political career with the GNLF in 1986, which was then the main party of Gorkhas,
founded to demand a separate state called Gorkhaland. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
Edited excerpts:
You are fighting as the candidate of a two-month-old party. How will you gather support?

I resigned from the party (GJM) on 18 September 2015 and it was a difficult task to set up a new party with the limited time I had. But as the MLA (member of legislative assembly) there are certain things I have done which helped me find supporters. There was only one government college in Darjeeling, which came up in 1957. I was able to bring two government colleges, two Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) and one polytechnic college in my constituency.

More importantly, I had been campaigning for a district status for Kalimpong for a long time and even raised this issue in the legislative assembly. I was able to get cabinet approval for my proposal though the approval came three months after my resignation. I see this as a historic achievement for Kalimpong.

You were the star campaigner for GJM. Why did you leave the party?

There were ideological differences. On one hand, the party talks about the demand of Gorkhaland as their sole aim but they don’t raise the issue where it matters. The demand should be raised in Parliament, not in the assembly, or municipality or even panchayats and that is what GJM has been doing. Despite having a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from the area and BJP at the centre, no pressure was put on the MP to introduce a bill for a separate state in Parliament.

Moreover, GJM made a mess out of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), which was set up in July 2011.There were many provisions like setting up a GTA Sabha, equivalent to a Vidhan Sabha, which we could have benefitted from but nothing happened. How can you expect someone to handle a higher body like a state when they have failed to handle a much lower body—the GTA.

GJM is merely using this demand as a slogan to be in power.

Do you still stand by the demand for Gorkhaland?

See, one has to prioritize. First you build infrastructure, create resources and once we would have thoroughly exhausted the provisions of GTA, then we demand a bigger body to cater to our aspirations. We have to explore GTA first, and then move to demand a separate state.

Any candidate fighting an MLA election on this agenda will be fooling the people.

I stand by the demand of a separate Gorkhaland but at the same time I also know which forum it needs to be raised on. Tomorrow, if I contest a Parliamentary election, then it will probably be on this plank.

Why did you form a party? You could have fought independently as well.

I am planning this on a long-term basis. I have taken my party’s name away from the normal communal line. A lot of emotional politics has been played since 1952 where parties were just exploiting the communal sentiment of people. I want to make the voters more rational and so they think about issues which immediately concern them. It is not just the Gorkhas who live here, there are other communities as well. They should also feel represented in a full democratic spirit.

We Gorkhas do belong to a community but we are scattered, we are a diaspora all over the country. Then how do we all connect? We cannot narrow down our demand to a communal label.

I want to start a new chapter in Gorkhaland politics.

Did you leave GJM due to your growing proximity to the Trinamool Congress?

Politics in the hills has always been that of fighting with the state (government). I want to put an end to this politics of confrontation and start a new chapter in the politics of cooperation.

By cooperating only I have been able to achieve the construction of the five educational institutions and the formation of Kalimpong as a separate district.

I will always maintain a good relation with the state government as I am going to the legislative assembly and if I burn my bridges, how will I work?

What are the top three issues on which you will fight this election?

Water, roads in rural areas and education. I have made it clear that anyone who fights the MLA (assembly) election on Gorkhaland issue is fooling the people.

What is your biggest challenge in this election?

Mindset. Deeply ingrained communal politics is the biggest problem and people will take time to get over it.

Via livemint

The hills have eyes: Can Sarita Rai Stop the Harka Juggernaut?

2:23 PM
Writes: Priyata Brajabasi

GJM's Sarita Rai, a first-time contestant who, interestingly, once taught with Harka at St George's Higher Secondary School in Pedong. She is quite confident of her prospects.

"I have known Harka Bahadur Chettri as my colleague. We used to be in the same party but he was unable to take the responsibility and fight for the cause of the hill people. He is being backed by the TMC and the people of the hills will not support TMC because the party is against our demand for the state of Gorkhaland," she says.

"Every person in the hills faces a crisis of identity. We have been put in a state but are not part of it. We are called Nepalis and Sikkimese and Chinese, but we are Gorkhas and we have been part of India since time immemorial. People will vote for me because I understand what the people of this place want. They want to belong to a place that is theirs and I will fight for it till my last breath. The solution of our issues is the formation of Gorkhland."
 Can Sarita Rai Stop the Harka
Sarita Rai GJM Kalimpong

Sarita Rai isn't bothered by the decision of the Gorkha National Liberation Front to support the Trinamool in Kurseong and Darjeeling, and the JAP in Kalimpong. "GNLF is barely surviving. Their support or opposition doesn't matter to us. It will barely affect the outcome," she asserts.

Harka disagrees, saying GNLF's support could decide the contest. "Their support is welcome to us. The last time I contested against the GNLF, and they were able to get more than 8000 votes, which is not a small number here. So it could be a deciding factor."

The battle for ballot in Kalimpong is an interesting one to watch, indeed.

Via Catch News

The end of Gorkhas' monopoly in Bengal legislative assembly from hills

8:57 AM
After Gorkhas' monopoly, BJP may open account in Bengal legislative assembly with three seats

Writes Madhuparna Das

DARJEELING/KURSEONG: The hills look different this election season — there are lots of Trinamool and BJP flags fluttering around, indicating the mood of its people. And unlike many years of identity politics — often marred by violence — the demand is one of multi-party democracy in Darjeeling, in Bengal.

It has been three decades since GNLF (Gorkha National Liberation Front) chief Subhash Ghisingh monopolised politics in the region. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, or GJM — an offshoot of the GNLF — carried on the legacy after dislodging the late Ghisingh. Interestingly, this time hill constituencies are described as 'advantage' seats for the BJP since the party in power has allied with the Morcha, and it is widely-speculated that BJP will open its account in Bengal legislative assembly with three seats.

"We respect democracy and believe that every party has the right to place their issues before the people. TMC is trying to hold election using the government machinery," GJM chief Bimal Gurung told ET.
In Darjeeling, where no mainstream party could ever get a foothold, Trinamool Congress is doing its best to make inroads and has tied up with GNLF, which went defunct after Ghisingh's forced exile. But Mamata Banerjee injected life into it to counter the GJM. Even though TMC had allied with the GJM in 2011, the two parties fell apart over the autonomy of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

UNEASY ALLIANCE The alliance between GNLF and TMC is also a tenuous one, and is compared to the ties between Congress and CPM. TMC has always opposed the idea of a separate statehood, but has ironically joined hands with the party that once had spearheaded the movement for a separate state — Gorkhaland — decades ago. CPM too announced its support for GJM but did not field a candidate.

Source ET Bureau 

Harka Bahadur's confidence Vs GJM Organisational strength

8:42 AM
Harka confidence & Morcha might

Vivek Chheri and Rajeev Ravidas

Darjeeling, April 13: A slogan by the whistle blowing supporters of the Jan Andolan Party is rattling Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders in Kalimpong.

"Look here, look there, its Harka everywhere," shout the JAP cadres.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the JAP president who has been allotted the whistle symbol in the Kalimpong seat, says he is confident of creating a (political) jam for the Morcha through this election and has to some extent managed to get the momentum in his favour as the hills inch towards the D-day.

"The response is overwhelming. I am confident," said Chhetri, when asked about his chances of defeating the Morcha's Sarita Rai, who is his colleague at St George's Higher Secondary School in Pedong.

The Morcha, however, is confident that Chhetri's three-month old party is no match for its organisational strength.
JAP Harka Bahadur Chhetri and GJM Bimal Gurung.
JAP Harka Bahadur Chhetri and GJM Bimal Gurung.
"They (JAP) have direct and indirect support of seven development boards, Trinamul, GNLF, and even the ABGL and funds to ferry people from one rally to another. That doesn't mean that they have an edge. We have the organisational strength. We have 13 GTA Sabha members, 13 election committees and a party structure in place in every nook and corner of Kalimpong to cover 271 booths," said D.K. Pradhan, the chief convener of the Morcha's election cell.

Pradhan, a former Darjeeling MLA and a municipal chairman, has overseen almost every election, first with the GNLF and then with the Morcha, since 1988. "It has been a cent per cent success story so far and this election will be no different. We will win Darjeeling and Kurseong by a landslide margin," he said and then paused: "In Kalimpong, the margin will be good."

During the last Assembly election in 2011, when Harka had been fielded by the Morcha, it was actually Harka here, there and everywhere. Harka as the Morcha candidate in 2011 had polled an overwhelming 1,09,102 votes, while his nearest rival, Prakash Dahal of the GNLF, could only manage 7,427 votes in one of the most one-sided contests for an Assembly seat.

A veteran like Pradhan, however, knows that the battle will not be such a one-sided affair in Kalimpong.

The Morcha has the upper hand on Gorkhaland and it was handed a breathing space with the Centre announcing the formation of a committee to look into the demand of granting tribal status to 10 Gorkha communities that constitute more than 55 per cent of the hill population. Despite everything, Bimal Gurung appears to be finding it difficult to counter the JAP's campaign on the formation of Kalimpong district.

Chhetri had brought the issue to the fore while quitting the Morcha in mid-September last year and the state government obliged him by announcing its decision to form the district on December 18. But the Morcha, too, sought to take credit for the district creation, saying it was the first to raise the demand.

What has also been a definite letdown for the JAP is the announcement of Chhetri's name as the Trinamul Congress candidate in Kalimpong. It played right into the hands of the Morcha, which has accused Chhetri of being an agent of Bengal.

"With the candidate announcement, Trinamul did a definite disfavour to Chhetri. The JAP, however, has sought to recover from the blow by keeping a tactical distance from Trinamul. No JAP leader, including Chhetri, has campaigned for Trinamul candidates in Darjeeling and Kurseong even though the JAP has extended tacit support to the ruling party by not fielding candidates in both the seats," said an observer.

Actually, the core issues being raised by both the Morcha and the JAP are the same if one is to compare their manifestos. Statehood, tribal status, Kalimpong district, land rights, implementation of three-tier panchayati raj system and water action plan feature in the manifestos of both the outfits.

Whatever is the issue, Kalimpong relishes the rare political choices on offer.

Via Telegraph

We will end ‘goondaraaj’ of GJM says TMC Arup Biswas

6:15 PM
Darjeeling 11 Apr 2016 West Bengal Trinamool Congress general secretary Arup Biswas, who was in Darjeeling today, said his party would not only emerge victorious in the Assembly election, but also finish the ‘goondaraaj’ of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.

The three-pronged alliance of the TMC-Gorkha National Liberation Front-Jan Andolan Party, or ‘jote’, tore into the GJM terming it a drowning boat that had outlived its days. Biswas reached Chowk Bazaar, the venue of the public meeting, some 30 minutes before the session ended and spoke for about 15 minutes. But he did not waste time and straight away began attacking the GJM and its leadership, accusing them of promoting atrocities and rampant corruption.

“GJM ab ek dooba huwa nauka hai. Bimal Gurung aur uska party ka goondagardi ab nahin chalne denge hum. Gurung ko election ke baad pahar chodna padega kyuki uska samay pura hogiya hai,” roared Biswas to the applause of TMC-GNLF-JAP supporters.
West Bengal Trinamool Congress general secretary Arup Biswas
The TMC believes it has at last established a toe-hold in the hills with the GNLF and the JAP supporting it and the All India Gorkha League asking party workers to vote “consciously” for any party other than the GJM.

Biswas said this election would not be a cakewalk for the GJM as the Trinamool and its allies were well prepared. “In the past, the GJM used to capture the booths by terrorising voters and cadres of other parties. But this time, we (TMC-GNLF-JAP) will deploy cadres in every booth. It is my ‘sapath’ (promise) that we will finish the GJM in the hills,” the TMC general secretary said.

GNLF leader Niraj Zimba evoked the deaths of hundreds of people during the two rounds of agitation for statehood (1986 and 2007) to corner the GJM, accusing it of tacitly supporting the CPM in this election. “In the first agitation more than 1,200 people were killed and 2007 saw another five deaths. The CPM was in power then. Now the GJM is supporting that party and it is also supporting the BJP whose leaders in the plains of Bengal are against Gorkhaland. How can people believe this (GJM) party?” he wondered.

Meanwhile, hill TMC leaders, wary of the sentiments attached with to statehood demand and the party’s stand on the matter, treaded a cautious path focusing more on development. “The TMC will come to power in Bengal again and its legislators will be able to fulfill the demand of the hills. That’s why we must be practical and not indulge in sentimental politics,” advised NB Khawas, the hill TMC general secretary.

And hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia tried to underscore a new perspective being followed by his party, insisting party chief Mamata Banerjee did not believe in ethnic politics. He said, “Baichung

Bhutia has been fielded in Siliguri and another Gorkha candidate in the Dooars even though these areas have Bengali population in the majority. This shows our leader’s broadmindedness and her love for the hills.”

However, Saradha Subba, the TMC candidate from Darjeeling, was blunt saying a Gorkha state would never be a reality. “Gorkhaland will not be created; moreover, the GJM will never be able to achieve it. There are other issues that need to be addressed urgently and you must give a chance to a national-level party like the TMC for overall progress and development,” she said.

The TMC has fielded candidates in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri and will be supporting JAP candidate Harka Bahadur Chhetri in Kalimpong.

Via (EOIC)

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