Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has lined up a series of public meetings in the hills from July 8, the decision coming in the wake of its arch rival GNLF discarding the state government-formed Hill Area Development Committee (HADC).
Mann Ghisingh, the president of the GNLF, had recently resigned from the post of the chairman of HADC and many had linked the move to an attempt by his party to reposition itself as a party working for the hill community.
Against this backdrop, the Morcha has announced a series of public meetings.
"We will hold a public meeting in Kurseong on July 8, followed by another meeting in Kalimpong the next day. A meeting will also be organised at Bijanbari (about 30km from Darjeeling) on July 11," said Suraj Sharma, the spokesman for the Morcha.
Asked about the reason to conduct the public meetings, Sharma said: "A political party has to organise public meetings and interact with the public. We want to tell the hill people about the development works the GTA has undertaken after we started administering the body," said Sharma.
Observers, however, believe that the Morcha has a two-fold strategy behind organising the public meeting. "Primarily, the Morcha wants to show that it is the largest political force in the hills and send a message that it definitely enjoys more support than the GNLF at the moment," said anobserver.
"At a secondary level, the party also wants to highlight the works that have been undertaken in the hills since taking control of the GTA in November last year," the observer added.
The Morcha meeting, which is being held after almost six months, is also a clear indication that it wants to leave no stone unturned to give any space to the GNLF.
Ghisingh's party has indicated that it plans to start afresh with the demand for Sixth Schedule and has also dissolved its central committee, branch committees of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik and all its frontal organisations, except those of the tea trade union and ex-serviceman association.
"The meeting is definitely to increase its activity and ensure that they do not give any space to the GNLF," added a hill resident.