Showing posts with label gorkhaland news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gorkhaland news. Show all posts

Political Players for Gorkhaland: Their Potentials, Problems and Prospects

9:35 AM
Writes: Animesh Rai*

Once again after the fascinating 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Darjeeling hills have started to witness intriguing contentions between the different political parties. As the state Legislative Assembly election is drawing closer new parties with new principles are emerging while the old and dominant ones are engaged in finding new affiliations to fulfill their long pending objectives. Day in day out, large number of people are seen changing their party associations. These political dynamics signify the growth of new aspirations and approaches within the regional polity. Various parties have come forward with multiple means to achieve more or less a common grounded objective of - development and statehood. Their activism and promises have indeed enthralled the entire hills with political warmth in the cold climes of winter and of course, with a hope for better spring and summers.

This write up is an attempt to highlight some of the basic approaches adopted by the four active political parties in pursuit of development and statehood demand. It also briefly touches upon their strength, shortcomings and mobilisation strategies and concisely concludes with the condition of polity at hand.
Political Players for Gorkhaland
Political Players for Gorkhaland
At present the political parties that are working vigorously for the upcoming elections are the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and Jan Andolan Party (JAP). Each political group, their perspectives, pros and cons has been dealt in an orderly manner.

The GJMM under Shri Bimal Gurung is the dominant party in the hills. It emerged in 2007 and revived the Gorkhaland movement and continues to advocate the formation of a separate state for the Indian Nepalis within the Indian Union. It has a very strong support base mostly in the tea garden belts which represents more than seventy percent of the total population of the district. In order to achieve its goal the party has been vehemently supporting the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

Both in 2009 and 2014 the GJMM backed the BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha elections and in both the cases made them victorious with a huge margin of votes. Although the first attempt was futile as the BJP could not form the government. The second trial is expected to be fruitful with BJP in power at the centre. Quite confident with this great hope and trust, the present GJMM supremo at times roars in public meetings "The ball is in our court and it is near the goalpost…we are about to score a goal" meaning that they are very close in achieving Gorkhaland. Moreover, the benevolent words of the present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the 2014 election campaign at Siliguri declared "The dreams of Gorkhas are my dreams" has consequently given a lot of consolation to the Gorkhas across the country for the fulfillment of their century old dream of a separate state.

The party believes that BJP is sympathetic towards the Gorkhas and has high hopes that BJP which had earlier carved out three new states during their NDA I regime will also eventually create Gorkhaland. GJMM is mobilising its support base through pad yatras, the door to door foot campaign organised in different wards of the district. They have also taken up the issues of granting Schedule Tribe status to ten hill communities and regularization of more than five thousand casual workers working under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). There are possibilities that they may enter into alliance with Congress and Communist party to fight against TMC in the forthcoming polls.

The unfortunate situation for the party is its failure to convince the BJP of West Bengal, to garner their support for the cause of Gorkhaland. The state BJP is only in favour of development and political stability in the hills but completely against the partition of Bengal for Gorkhaland. Secondly, the murder case allegation of the late Madan Tamang, the leader of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) on the main leaders of the GJMM has given them a bad name and fame. The critics point at these inhumane and barbaric character of the leaders and decline from supporting them. The murder case file has not been closed down but the investigation is still going on. Lastly, the BJP does not have a majority in the Upper House of the Parliament to pass the bill in favor of Gorkhaland. Probably the reason for GJMM to ally with Congress and Communists is to gain their support in the Upper House that is if and when the BJP introduces and passes the bill from the Lower House. Unfortunately, the issue of Gorkhaland has not even been raised by the BJP in the parliament till date.

The TMC is the dominant party in West Bengal and the head of the party, the present Chief Minister (CM) of West Bengal Shri Mamta Banerjee has gained popularity for being one of the most efficient CM in the nation. The party does not support the cause of Gorkhaland but emphasize on development and peace in the hills. In the former years TMC and GJMM shared a good relationship but it started to deteriorate on the matters relating to the transfer of various allocated departments from the state to the GTA. Infact, GTA an autonomous but an unconstitutional body was conferred to GJMM by the TMC government in the presence of the central government officials in 2012. Once their relationship degenerated TMC shifted their focus of development from economy towards ethnicity by using an alternative model, establishment of tribal development boards in the GTA arena. TMC believes that through such boards every marginal and tribal group of hills would develop on equal lines. The party seeks to mobilise supporters by forming such development boards. It is also to be noted that the present CM has visited Darjeeling district for the maximum number of time as compared to the former state CMs. She says she loves Darjeeling and her people and will soon turn it into Switzerland but she can never think about the separation of Darjeeling district from Bengal.

GJMM is the most vocal adversary of TMC. The party is disliked for segregating the sense of collective Gorkha community by dividing the group into several sub-groups, all in the name of development boards. Opponents also believe that TMC is trying to suppress the Gorkhaland movement by disintegrating the Gorkha community. The concept of development board formation is also seen as a tool of disrupting the traditional cultural homogeneity of the region.

GNLF under the late Subash Ghising came into existence in the mid 1980's and it was the first party to demand Gorkhaland in a legitimate and vocal manner by provoking Article 3A of the Indian Constitution. The party saw the plight of Indian Nepalis or Gorkhas in the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and demanded its abrogation. After his demise in 2015, his son Shri Mann Ghishing has been made the new party president. GNLF is empowering its support base by reviving its old demand of Sixth Schedule for Darjeeling which was slumped down after the party's failure to remain in power since 2008. This special statute of autonomy was particularly designed for the tribal areas of North East (NE) India and both the state and centre were in favour of bestowing this plan for the region. Drawing from the experience of NE states, it became evident to the leaders that most of the present day states of that region were earlier placed under Sixth Schedule before they became a state. Almost all the backward and scheduled areas of the colonial administration have been made states in the post-independent India. So far, Darjeeling is the only remaining historical backward area that has not been converted into a state. So, for GNLF the foundation stone for Gorkhaland is to bring the region under the Sixth Schedule first and concomitantly, follow the political footprints of NE states. The party had aligned with TMC in the 2014 MP elections and may club with them in this year's state elections as well.

However, the opposition groups argue that for an area to be brought under Sixth Schedule it has to have more than fifty to sixty percent of the tribal population which in case of Darjeeling district does not fulfill the required criteria. The opponents also asserts that if Sixth Schedule is granted then the region will be declared a tribal area, majority of population which comprise of non-tribal groups would be debarred from many socio-cultural, politico and economic engagements and tbenefits. It is directly seen as a device to divide the regional society.

JAP was recently formed in January 2016 by a group of erudite personals. The party is headed by Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, the former GJMM spokesperson. He parted ways with Morcha in September 2015 when he turned down the party chief's order to resign from the post of the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). He resigned from the party but continued to remain as an independent MLA from Kalimpong. He also shares a very close relationship with the CM. The party has well known experts drawn from the pool of academia, lawyers and activists from pressure groups. The first point in their manifesto is development of the region and an attainment of a separate statehood. Although a separate statehood is also their demand, they do not stress on using the concept - Gorkhaland. They believe that Gorkhas are not the only ones inhabiting in Darjeeling district and Dooars but the region has also been a home for many other ethnic minority tribes and communities since ages. They go for integrative approach of accommodating every group of the region. They have an impression that the direct use of pro-ethnic terms like Gorkhaland would exclude the members of other communities. Moreover, the concept Gorkha has direct connections with the small hill district in western part of Nepal and with the conquerors and founders of the kingdom of Nepal. The use of the term may provide more space for political criticism and opposition rather than favour and support when the issue is placed at the national level. Therefore, they apparently hold that using the ethnic term Gorkha at present may not be very appealing in the sight of the opponents and the government, particularly while placing the issue of a separate state which calls for ethos of greater national interest and integration. Prof. Mahendra P. Lama, the Founding Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University and currently the Chairman of JAP had earlier asserted that the name of the state can be easily amended later once the state is achieved, what is really required at the present hour is the understanding and strategy of placing the demand in the right place, right Ministry and active lobbying with the government. They call for politics of rationality over the politics of emotionalism.

JAP aspires to have a corruption free administration and believe in maintaining a healthy relationship with both the state and central governments. They prefer to put forward the issue of statehood through rational and robust discussions and deliberations. They are mobilising support with the demand for land rights in tea gardens and cinchona plantation areas along with the implementation of Minimum Wage Act and creation of Kalimpong districts and other sub-divisions in Mirik and Bijanbari. They may form an alliance with the TMC in the upcoming elections.

Since the members of the new political group do not use the term "Gorkhaland" and believes in maintaining a healthy relationship with the state government they are looked down by their rivals as brokers of the state and referred as "Mir Zafars - the traitors." These politicians are seen as opportunists and agents of West Bengal government by their opposition forces and their party is seen as a sub-TMC party. The GJMM chief has strongly claimed that this party will not last for more than a month or two. Their antagonists have also circulated posters spreading the message to be aware of the motives of the JAP leaders.

Now emphasizing on the probable alliance pattern for the upcoming elections the two hill parties GNLF and JAP have the possibilities of aligning with TMC while GJMM is seeking for collaborations with Congress and Communists. The TMC still has a strong hold in Bengal and the political observers are of the estimation that the party will stay in power in the next term as well despite the challenge posed by Congress and the Communists collectively. In the process what may possibly happen is TMC may become more powerful in the state and GJMM may lose out the support from BJP for supporting its major rivals in the state elections. The last possibility of statehood may be missed out and the dream of Gorkhaland may fade away.

Observing the goals alone, all of these parties want development and GJMM, GNLF and JAP are fighting for a separate statehood as well. In considering their strength and contributions towards the political development of the region, the GNLF started the statehood movement, GJMM revived the movement and now has an added benefit of both mass support and as an affiliate of BJP. On the other hand JAP is a new political entrant only in the terms of its recent formation but has members who are old and matured in terms of political experience with a sound wisdom on legal system and national policy making.

Lastly, reconsidering the GJMM chief's holla of sporti-fing their political success like a ball about to be striked off for scoring the final goal in the football match, many supporting spectators sees that ball is yet to be defended and dribbled properly before the final shot is made and for this skillful players are a must. The region surely has well trained and specialized players, ready to play in their respective positions in the soccer field but currently they are all busy playing for different teams. If the resources of these diverse players can be capitalized into one common team then it will positively fortify the Gorkhaland movement for all better reasons. The immediate need of the hour is forming one composite team from the region. Elections here can be seen as a major league where the victory of the team is possible solely through consensus and companionship.

The GJMM supremo has aptly said, at present the ball is in their hands, they are close to the goalpost but the goal has not been scored yet. However, with the concrete passionate team upholding the virtues of fraternity and morality, the football match would have been played in a more robust and organised way. The players would have in a very sporting spirit, fended, tackled, passed on and off and finally kicked the ball right inside the goalpost. The ever cheering supportive spectators would have rejoiced and remembered this beautiful game and its players till the very end.

*The author is a Research Scholar at Sikkim University

Via TheDC

Chandra Kumar Bose - Gorkhaland an attack on the integrity of India

9:06 AM
Writes Sanjog Chamling

MORON ALERT: "I believe slogans like Bharat ki barbaadi or Gorkhaland should be treated as an attack on the integrity of India." - Chandra Kumar Bose. Chandra Kumar Bose is apparently the BJP face of Bengal who is contesting against Mamata Banerjee in the upcoming assembly election

Mr. Chandra Kumar Bose whose only claim to fame is that he happens to be the grand-nephew of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose is contesting against Mamata Banerjee on a BJP ticket this up coming election. He thinks that chanting "We want Gorkhaland" is equivalent to chanting "Bharat ko Barbaadi slogans..."

Responding to an interview question carried on Catch News, he says, "I believe slogans like Bharat ki barbaadi or Gorkhaland should be treated as an attack on the integrity of India. I can't say whether its sedition or not but its definitely an attack on India and steps should be taken to curb it."

Following is what he said on his conversation with Catch:

SD: Does guiding mean slapping sedition charge on students? Do you support that?

CB: Well this is a legal issue and I am not an expert. But this is a British law and I think there should be a review of the sedition law and the all other laws from the British era. Having said that, I believe slogans like Bharat ki barbaadi or Gorkhaland should be treated as an attack on the integrity of India. I can't say whether its sedition or not but its definitely an attack on India and steps should be taken to curb it. [Details here]

Chandra Kumar Bose -  Gorkhaland an attack on the integrity of India
Chandra Kumar Bose
We hope that GJM will strongly protest against this false and completely moronic insinuation with BJP bosses and force idiotic Mr. Chandra to issue an apology.

 Let the MORONS know.

1.The site, declassifying 100 files relating to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, opened, with the song "Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja.. Khushi K Geet Gaaye Jaa..." by one of the Gorkhali stelwart - Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri. [Details here]

2.Krishna Bahdur Mukhia May 12, 1921 to September 13, 2012 was one of the bravest Indian Gorkha freedom fighters. He was the personal bodyguard and driver of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, during his warring days in the jungles of Burma in 1943.[Details here]

3.Netaji had cherished Capt. Thakuri and his music and it is evident from the fact that Netji had gifted Capt. Thakuri a violin and a saxophone as gifts.  Krishna[Details here]

4.A great Indian  Gorkha Freedom fighter Saheed Durga Malla who was hanged to death by the British on 25th August 1944 for his patriotic activities fighting along side Netaji. [Detail here]

5.Saheed Indreni Thapa and Saheed Sabitri Thapa were teenagers when they joined the ‘Bal Sena’ or ‘Janbaz Dal’of the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Indreni Thapa and Sabitri Thapa, the two Gorkha teenagers of ‘Janbaz Dal’ attained martyrdom by blowing up British tanks. They did this by virtually making themselves human bombs by strapping mines on their bodies and crawling under the British tanks camouflaged as bushes, and blowing up the British tanks.
Reportedly Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was the eye-witness to this act of supreme sacrifice by our brave hearts. [Details here]

We strongly condemn this act by Chandra Kumar Bose and request him to go through the history of the Indian Gorkhas before making such baseless statement. He surely needs to go through the Constitution of India to know that Gorkhaland is more than 100 years old demand of the people which is well within the framework of our Constitution. [Details here].

We seek an apology from Chandra Kumar Bose as he relates Bharat ki barbaadi with Gorkhaland.

With inputs from The DC

Gorkhaland 30th state of India says Class IV text book

10:15 PM

Darjeeling: The Hills parties might have been fighting for a separate Gorkhaland state for several decades now, but a schoolbook for Class IV kids in the region has already declared it as the 30th state of the country.

Though the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the forerunner for the statehood demand, has denied any knowledge of the book, its assistant secretary Jyoti Rai said, "One thing is clear. The word, 'Gorkhaland', is accepted," said Rai, promising to find out about it.

The error is found in the social study book being taught in a few ICSE schools in the Hills.

The word, "Gorkhaland", appears in the very first chapter on "Our Motherland and People". On page 5, "Gorkhaland" also appears on the political map of country, just below Sikkim. However, it is not mentioned in the question-answer section, though "Darjeeling" does figure in Bengal.

According to the owner of a bookstore in Darjeeling, the book is being used only in a few ICSE schools and not in government institutions. "We are selling to a few schools but they are not government ones," the owner said. "There can always several publishers involved. We are not aware of which school subscribes to which one." He promised to write to the wholesaler, who provides the book, about the error.

Interestingly, books from the same publisher but not pertaining to the fourth standard are also being sold from other stores.

The Janmukti Primary Teacher's Organization (JPTO), affiliated to GJM, said books suggested only by National Council of Education for Research and Training (NCERT) were used in primary government schools. "We use books recommended by the NCERT. We are not aware of the social study book that mentions Gorkhaland as a separate state," said Rajen Thapa, president of JPTO.


गोर्खाल्यान्डको लागि जनमत भएको गोजमुमोले गोर्खाल्याण्ड ल्याउनुपर्ने हो- अमर लामा

5:00 PM
एक साता अघि अस्तित्वमा आएको नयाँ राजनैतिक दल जन आन्दोलन पार्टी (जाप)-का शीर्ष नेताहरूले अलग राज्यको मुद्दामा मोर्चा नेताहरूको टिप्पणीको प्रतिक्रिया दिएका छन। दलको आन्तरिक साङ्गठिक बैठकमा भाग लिन कालेबुङ आएका जापका ब्युरो प्रमुख डा महेन्द्र पी लामा, सदस्यहरू अनमोल प्रसाद, अमर लामाले मोर्चा नेताहरूले जापको मुद्दा र कार्यक्रमहरूबारे टिप्पणी गर्नको साटो आफ्नो दलको मुद्दा र जनतासँग गरेका वचनहरू पूरा गर्न आफ्नो उर्जा लगाउनु पर्ने सुझाउ दिएका छन्। आन्तरिक बैठकपछि आयोजित पत्रकार सम्मेलनमा दलका अध्यक्ष डा हर्कबहादुर छेत्री, ब्युरो प्रमुख डा महेन्द्र पी लामा, अनमोल प्रसाद, अमर लामाले पत्रकारहरूले सोधेको प्रश्नहरूको उत्तर दिएका थिए। गत 27 जनवरीक दिन कालेबुङमा भएको जनसभामा मोर्चा नेतृत्वले जापको घोषणापत्रमा गोर्खाल्यान्डको मुद्दा उल्लेख नभएको दावी गर्दै आलोचना गरेका थिए। दलको ब्युरो चेयरमेन डा लामाले यो सम्बन्धमा प्रतिक्रिया जनाउँदै भने, “केन्द्रमा त्यही दल छ जसले तीनवटा नयाँ राज्यहरूको गठन गरिसकेको छ। गत विधानसभा चुनामा बिजेपीले आन्ध्रप्रदेशमा एक भोट, दुइ स्टेटको नारामा चुनाउ लडेकै हो। त्यही बिजेपीको उम्मेद्वारलाई यहाँबाट लोकसभा चुनाउ जिताएर पठाइयो। अहिले संसदमा गोर्खाल्यान्डको बील ल्याउन यो दललाई के समस्या छ? मोर्चा नेताहरूले कालेबुङका जनतालाई दिग्भ्रमित पार्ने कुराहरू किन गर्छन्? उनीहरू यति ठूलो ठूलो कुरा गर्छन तर खास गर्नुपर्ने कुरै गर्दैनन। मोर्चाले बिजेपीलाई संसदमा गोर्खाल्याण्डको बील ल्याउन लगावोस्। केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालय, मेडिकल संस्थानहरूको बील ल्याउन लगावोस्। कुरै सकिहाल्छ नि” यता, ब्युरो सदस्य अमर लामाले पनि आफ्नो प्रतिक्रिया जाहेर गर्दै चुनाउमा जनमत पाएर गएको दलले भर्खरै अस्तित्वमा आएको दललाई गोर्खाल्यान्डको निम्ति दबाउ दिनु युक्तिसङ्गत नहुने बताएका छन। गोजमुमोले गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति जनमत प्राप्त गरेको कारण यसको गठनलाई लिएर पनि यही दल अधिक जिम्मेवार र जवाफदेहि हुनु पर्ने लामाको भनाइ छ।
गोर्खाल्यान्डको लागि जनमत भएको गोजमुमोले गोर्खाल्याण्ड ल्याउनुपर्ने हो- अमर लामा
“जुन दलको आफ्नो मेनिफेष्टो छैन, त्यही दलका नेताहरूले हाम्रो मेनिफेष्टोलाई माइक्रोसकोप लगाएर हेर्ने के काम छ? बिजेपीको घटक दल बनेर मोर्चाले अहलुवालियालाई सांसद बनाएर पठाएको हो। मोर्चालाई 2019सम्म गोर्खाल्यान्डको लागि जनमत छ। घटक दल भएको नाताले प्रधानमञ्त्री, गृहमञ्त्री, सांसद सबै उनीहरूकै छ। उनीहरूले चैँ वास्तवमा गोर्खाल्यान्ड ल्याउनु पर्ने हो। यद्यपि, हामी नयाँ पार्टी भएर पनि आफ्नो घोषणापत्रमा अलग राज्यको मुद्दालाई शीर्ष स्थानमा राखेका छौं” वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता लामाले भने।

Via Kalimpongpost

Harka Bahadur Chhetri to from new political party

9:08 AM
Writes Rajeev Ravidas

Kalimpong, Dec. 6: Harka Bahadur Chhetri today said he planned to float a political party, months after he left the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Chhetri, who heads the Kalimpong District Demand Committee, did not give a clear answer when asked what his prospective party's stand would be on the Gorkhaland issue.

Chhetri today said there was a need to bring about political change in the hills and the formation of a district was the first step in that direction.

"The second and third steps will follow. We are thinking about it (forming a party) in the district demand committee because we are being pressured by our friends and supporters to launch a party," he said.

Asked if the decision to form the party was more or less finalised, Chhetri said: "More finalised, not less."

He added: "There can't be politics without a political party. A party is required to provide good administration. We will discuss this among ourselves and take a decision soon. It will not take long."

Asked what the new party's stand on the demand for Gorkhaland would be, the Kalimpong MLA said: "We are at primary school. Gorkhaland is a university. We will first have to think of getting to secondary school and then on to college. Maybe, we will not be able to reach university in our generation, the next generation possibly can," he said.

Last week, officials in Nabanna, the state secretariat, had said finishing touches were being given to the Kalimpong district demand. Some sources said Mamata Banerjee wanted to back Chhetri as a local counter-point to the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Assembly elections are barely five months away, and Chhetri's willingness to float a party now is interesting in this context too.

In the general elections in 2014, Trinamul had fielded Bhaichung Bhutia from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat. The Morcha did not support him, saying he is not a local face. But it supported the BJP's S.S. Ahluwalia, who is also not a local face but belongs to a party that had shown some willingness initially to hear out the Morcha on Gorkhaland.

Trinamul has a unit in the hills, but has no leader with a mass following. Chhetri is not a leader of the masses either, but as the MLA of Kalimpong, he enjoys the goodwill of residents in the subdivision.

The MLA said the new party would not be restricted by geography or ethnicity. "We are looking at a huge canvas. We will empower the people. We will focus on real issues concerning the people and work to provide them with basic necessities that continue to elude them," he said.

Chhetri said the land rights of tea garden and cinchona workers would be the priority of the new party.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri to from new political party
Harka Bahadur Chhetri 
"These workers have been living in the plantations for 200 years, but their condition is pitiable. It will be gross injustice not to give them land rights. I have already taken up the matter with the government," he said.

Tea garden land is leased out by the state government to companies and the lease has to be renewed every 30 years. The state is the owner of the tea gardens' land. The workers and their families who have been residing in tea plantations for generations since the 1850s do not have land rights.

The cinchona plantations are under the directorate of cinchona and medicinal plantation, which is a state undertaking. Like in tea gardens, the workers of cinchona plantations have no land rights.

Source Telegraph

Central Committee to examine Gorkhaland demand - Rajnath Singh

12:06 PM
Darjeeling, Dec. 2: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today claimed that Union home minister Rajnath Singh had promised to look into the party's request to form a committee by the Centre to examine the Gorkhaland demand and talk to the state government on the matter.

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said over the phone from Delhi that the promise had been given at a meeting between Rajnath and a party delegation led by Bimal Gurung, in the Capital today. The party raised other issues also with the minister.

Bimal Gurung Official published the following statement.

A high level meeting was today convened by Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh on the issue of Gorkhaland in the Union Home Ministry.

Shri Bimal Gurung, GJM president and Shri SS Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Member of Parliament from Darjeeling along with senior functionaries of the GJM were present in the meeting that was also attended by senior home ministry officials including union home secretary. The Home Secretary was assisted by other officials including the additional secretary in charge of centre state relations, joint secretary, director and other officials.

From the GJM side, other functionaries included Shri Roshan Giri, Dr Rohit Sharma, Shri Swaraj Thapa, Shri PT Ola, Shri Narbu G Lama, Shri Bijoy Sundas, Shri Moti Prasad Sharma and Shri Kamal Sharma.
GJM meeting Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh on the issue of Gorkhaland in the Union Home Ministry.
The meeting, convened in the committee room of the union home ministry in North Block, lasted for about 45 minutes.

The GJM presented the union home mnister with five different sets of memorandum, shri bimal Gurung foremost sought immediate setting up of a high level central committee to examine the formation of Gorkhaland. He appealed to the union home minister that the BJP has mentioned in their 2009 and 2014 manifesto that they would ‘sympathetically examine and appropriate consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas.’

Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh assured the delegation that the Government has always been sympathetic to the gorkhas. He said that the government would look into the demand to set up a committee on Gorkhaland.

The Government side indicated that it will talk to the state government on the subject.

The second agenda was the immediate inclusion of the 11 Gorkha and Adivasi communities in the ST status across India namely Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakhha (Dewan) and Dhimal. Shri Bimal Gurung said that a memorandum has already been given to hon tribal affairs mnister jual oram. The government assured that the issue would be taken up with the tribal affairs ministry.

The third agenda the GJM delegation raised was the established of a Central University in Darjeeling Hills as mentioned in the MoA of the GTA Agreement. The GJM delegation also apprised the Hon'ble Minister that the DPR prepared by EDCIL of the Central University has been submitted to Smt Smriti Irani, Hon'ble Minister of HRD.

The GJM delegation also requested the Hon'ble Home Minister about all tea garden workers to be immediately brought under the Minimum Wages Act 1948. The current wages should be calculated taking into account the overall inflation, AICP Index and Minimum Wages Act with an effort to meet the basic needs of the Plantation Labours.

The issue related to death of 22 persons by malnutrition so far in the tea gardens of Darjeeling Terai and Dooars since May 12, 2015 wad also raised. Presently many tea gardens in the Dooars region have remained closed and death toll due to starvation/ malnutrition has reached over 1000 since 2002.
Besides these closed tea gardens, there are some other tea gardens also which have faced closure for some time now. The GJM delegation appealed to the Central government to take immediate steps to ensure that these closed gardens begin operations without any further delay so that workers are able to work and get their rightful due.

The issue of granting Pattas (Land rights) to the tea garden workers in all tea gardens was also raised with the Hon'ble Minister.

On the issue of GTA functioning, Sri Bimal Gurung and other delegation members intimated the union home minister that the West Bengal government has refused to part with powers and functions as agreed upon in the tripartite agreement. Shri SS Ahluwalia also forcefully argued that the state government had faulted on its promise to part with powers and functions.

Via Telegraph and Bimal Gurung Official

Bihar Election Results And Gorkhaland

7:39 AM

Writes: N N Ojha

Gorkhaland is once again the talk of the town. Gorkhas in the Darjeeling hills and else where in India are once again discussing ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘why not’ about Gorkhaland.

Last time it grabbed attention equally intensely was in July 2012 when the then UPA government led by Manmohan Singh as factotum for Sonia Gandhi had announced the decision to carve a new state Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh. That was understandable. On merits a favorable decision on Gorkhaland deserved to take precedence over Telangana. The demand for Gorkhaland has been far longer outstanding than the Telangana demand. The region comprising proposed Gorkhaland is far more distinct from west Bengal in terms of language, ethnicity, culture, history and geography than Telangana ever was from Andhra Pradesh. Most importantly when the last tripartite agreement between GJMM, government of India and government of west Bengal was signed there was a mass perception in the region that decision on statehood for Gorkhaland would be taken as and when decision on Telangana was taken. Therefore it was quite natural for alarm bells to ring when Telangana was declared without a whiff or whisper of Gorkhaland.

Connect between decision on Telangana leading to resurgence of the Gorkhaland issue is thus clear but what about Bihar? How does one explain the issue occupying center stage as a sequel to the Bihar election results? After all our demand for statehood entails separation from west Bengal and not Bihar. In fact we haven’t had anything to do with Bihar ever except that at one stage of our history Darjeeling district was part of Darbhanga division that is currently a part of Bihar. That by itself should be immaterial as Darbhanga like some other parts of present day Bihar, Orissa or Assam was part of the Bengal Presidency and later Bengal province during the British colonial rule and was severed from Bengal in due course of states reorganisation.

So why is Gorkhaland the talk of the town in the context of Bihar election results? Is it because of our stark dependence on the BJP to grant us Gorkhaland and the BJP’s dismal performance in Bihar? Do these results contain any lessons for the BJP and by implication hints about shape of things to come for Gorkhaland?

First, let us look at the results. For all its massive tactical planning, logistic paraphernalia, publicity blitz and the party president Amit Shah’s much hyped talk of mission 185+ BJP and its allies had to content with just 58 seats out of the 243 they contested. By itself BJP could win barely 53 out of the 159 seats it contested. The dismal performance was in spite of nearly 250 GPS enabled ‘Raths’ (modified Boleros fitted with audio visual publicity material) meant to reach some 40000 villages for canvassing across Bihar monitored on real time basis from a state of the art tracking station based in Patna and nearly 3 lakhs volunteers including Bollywood stars like Ajay Devgan drafted for the campaign.

It is another matter that unmindful of the arithmetical as well as political error of interpretation most BJP apologists still call their show very impressive in view of what they wrongly call ‘highest percentage of votes’ polled by the party.

Be that as it might. Let us see if the results contain any lessons for the BJP or for our dream of Gorkhaland. In so far as lessons for BJP are concerned I have no intention of wasting much time as firstly Gorkhaland and not BJP or Bihar is my main concern and secondly most BJP sympathisers have of late become so edgy that they immediately start calling you names if you point out any shortcomings in their party or leaders even with the best of intentions. I will therefore touch upon the lessons for BJP only to the extent they impact Gorkhaland.

What are the lessons for BJP having a direct bearing on Gorkhaland? Three lessons I guess; power of the regional political forces, benefits of a broad based coalition and electoral gains of a well calculated social engineering. While evaluating the benefits of broad based alliance with the regional forces I am leaving aside any moral presuppositions or value judgement and simply looking at the pragmatic dynamics of a political decision. I am also leaving aside the social engineering planned and executed by either side except that the state government’s decision to grant ‘caste certificates’ to upper caste Hindu and Muslim children on income based criteria, moving some OBCs to EBC and EBCs to the SC/ST category along with the attendant benefits and approving financial grant to some more Madarsas perhaps proved more effective than the central government’s decision to declare some districts of Bihar as ‘backward districts’ carrying tax rebates. One single lesson from the moves; sops benefiting an individual directly have greater impact than any collective gains for a group. We may however ignore this as overwhelming majority of people (I am not sure of the leaders though) in the region are actually keen on Gorkhaland and not for any individual gains.

Are there other lessons for us in the whole story? Yes, at least four. First, to be able to figure in the political reckoning of larger national level parties we have to be seen as a powerful regional political player which is possible only if all of us across party lines are united at least on one issue, namely, the demand for Gorkhaland. It was because of this one voice that BJP’s Jaswant Singh had a cakewalk in the 2009 general elections and the three MLAs from hills could make it to the state assembly with impressive margins two years later in 2011. During 2014 election campaign if BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi had to publically declare that Gorkhas dream was his dream it was solely due to the perception that everyone in the hills was united in the demand for Gorkhaland..

Second lesson for us, we have to in our own interest get out of the ‘BJP only’ mindset. Because of our stark dependence on BJP they have, it seems, started taking us for granted. How else does one explain complete lack of follow up on the PM’s assurances that our dream is his dream and absolutely no interest shown by our MP to move forward on the only issue that got him into the parliament on our vote. Let us make it clear to the BJP that in the forthcoming state assembly elections we shall support them only if the party moves a resolution for creation of Gorkhaland or at least our MP moves a private member’s bill on the subject. Reaction to such a motion will make it clear as to who is with us and who is against, so that in the state elections in 2016 we vote accordingly.

Third lesson, we must learn to bargain hard with whosoever we align, get their commitments for our cause in black and white and widely circulate the written compact among the masses so that in the event of any post election ditching no one is able to confuse through deceitful lies.

Fourth lesson, we must know our own worth and learn to value ourselves. If we are united the larger national political parties shall need us more than we might need them. No political party howsoever big or resourceful can win even a panchayat ward election in the hills if we decide to unite on the issue of Gorkhaland and vote enbloc for whosoever agrees to support us. Let us make use of this unique strength of ours and declare unambiguously that we shall allow only those parties to politically survive in the region who support the creation of Gorkhaland and agree to a time bound plan of action to be made public beforehand. To the BJP whom we have already helped gain an MP on our strength let us make clear that further support including support in the coming state election shall depend only on the party moving the Gorkhaland resolution in the Parliament.

Let us not go by the party’s lame excuse that it can’t move on the issue of Gorkhaland as it doesn’t have adequate strength in the Rajya Sabha. You move the resolution so that even if it falls in the Rajya Sabha we will at least know who are with us, and, who against and shall deal suitably with those opposed to our dream.

In all these lessons there is a crucial ‘if’, i.e. if we are united. By being united we can turn the lessons into opportunities. If divided the lesson may in fact expose chinks in our armor and prove counterproductive. The basic question therefore is are we united or are we ready to get united. Answer to this question shall determine the future for Gorkhaland and our coming generations.

Source The Darjeeling Times

NFNS Submits Memorandum to Home Minister on ‪Gorkhaland‬ Formation

7:02 AM

Nov 16, 2015  National Federation for New States (NFNS) Delegation led by Munish Tamang met Union Home Minister Sh. Rajnath Singh today.
The delegation reminded him of the Gorkhaland promise made by his party in the 2014 manifesto.

The delegation also stated that the demand for creation of new state is not a regional demand and it should be made part of the national debate.

The delegation included leaders from Bundelkhand, Vidharbha, and Bodoland.

A memorandum was also presented to the Home Minister.

NFNS will also meet the Prime Minister and the President of India.

Source The DT

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