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

Dr Subramanian Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

10:38 AM
Dr Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has called for BJP to fulfill their promise, and to keep Gorkhaland as number one priority.

He tweeted, "Time for the BJP to start looking at our 2014-to date the party’s organisational culture. In many. States we had made promises we could not keep. Gorkhaland is top priority. Must make it a Union Territory as promised.'
Subramanian Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

One of the readers Vishal Singh questioned  "Sir its neccessary to make gorkhaland????" (sic)

He responded with, "We should not have promised and got elected BJP MPs from Darjeeling."

Another reader, Zaid Ahemad asked, "Sir , If BJP makes Gorkhaland then whatever it has in Bengal will vanish !" (sic)

Dr Swamy wrote, "Gorkhaland is not being given to Pakistan. It will be still part of India like Bengal."

Bhaichung might become Darjeeling District TMC president

11:11 AM
Siliguri, June 17: Mamata Banerjee is likely to announce the new president of the Darjeeling Trinamul district committee in Calcutta tomorrow and ex-footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and Pratul Chakraborty are being considered for the post, sources in the organisation said.

The chief minister, said the sources, wanted the replacement of Ranjan Sarkar, the current president of the party in Darjeeling, as Trinamul had failed in three consecutive elections in the district in one year. The defeat of Trinamul in the Siliguri municipal and mahakuma parishad polls and the Assembly elections has been attributed to factionalism in the party.

"Tomorrow, a meeting has been convened by the party at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta where leaders from different districts will be present. Our party chief Mamata Banerjee and other frontline leaders will be at the meeting. We can almost confirm that the name of the new Darjeeling district president will be announced tomorrow. The names of Bhaichung Bhutia and Pratul Chakraborty are making the rounds," a Siliguri Trinamul leader, who didn't want to be named, said over the phone from Calcutta today.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee with former Soccer star Baichung Bhutia
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee with former
 Soccer star Baichung Bhutia - file photo
Another senior leader said Bhaichung might be made the working president of Trinamul in the district. "Bhaichung has never made it to district and state committees. There is a chance that Pratul Chakraborty will be the new president, while Bhaichung will be made the working president of Darjeeling district. It can be an effective arrangement as Bhaichung can try to bring all lobbies in the party together and end factionalism, while Pratulda, who has good acceptability, can monitor from the top," said the leader.

There are also speculations that Bhaichung will be appointed as the chairman of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority.

Bhaichung had lost to the CPM's Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri in the Assembly polls. Chakraborty had held the post of the district president before Gautam Deb.

Following the debacle Trinamul faced in the municipal and mahakuma parishad polls last year, minister Gautam Deb was removed as the Trinamul district chief in November. He was replaced with Sarkar, who was the district Trinamul Youth president then.

But even after Sarkar, who is also a municipal councillor in Siliguri, became the president, Trinamul couldn't win any of the six Assembly seats in the district.

"Mamata is completely disappointed over the performance of district leaders who are busy fighting among themselves. It is because of infighting that Gautam Deb was not allowed to contest the Siliguri civic polls in 2015. There is no chance that Mamata or any other state leader will seek opinion from the Darjeeling district leaders before finalising the name of the district president," said a Trinamul insider.


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

Kalimpong District to be formed soon claims JAP

6:15 PM
Kalimpong  31st may 2016 After losing the assembly election in Kalimpong Jana Andolan Party JAP is trying to consolidate it support base in Kalimpong and in such an attempt they claim that the formation of the Kalimpong Distric has got green signal from the chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. JAP president  Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri after the election met the chief minister and have had a fruitful discussion on the matter

"Though JAP lost the election, we will strive hard to fulfill Kalimpongbasi's aspirations and keep our promises of creating Kalimpong Zilla.

And we have already started the process for upgradation of Kalimpong sub-division into district JAP President Dr H.B Chhetri met WB chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee on 23rd May and had a discussion about the same for almost 45 minutes in a very cordial environment as a result, Chief Minister has already instructed her govt to expedite the process of formation of 5 new districts that includes Kalimpong as well" said Jana Andolan Party's youth leader, Pankaj Chhetri.
Kalimpong District to be formed soon claims JAP
Kalimpong District to be formed soon claims JAP
He further added "We are thankful to our president for taking this initiative....losing election didn't deter him from his goal. And I can confidently say that if ever Kalimpong district is formed, that surely will be formed soon, its all due to hard work, dedication, perseverance, and vision of our President Dr. H B Chhetri."

Sarita Rai, GJM's Kalimpong MLA candidate Surprise - Will it work?

10:07 AM
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha yesterday announced candidates’ names from the hills and the plains for the state Assembly election, and sprang a surprise by pitching a female candidate from Kalimpong constituency to take on MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri.

It was no surprise about Rohit Sharma, the incumbent legislator from Kurseong, being retained, while Darjeeling municipality chairman Amar Singh Rai, a member of the GJM’s Study Forum, was nominated from Darjeeling constituency. The surprise announcement however, was of school teacher Sarita Rai, being fielded from Kalimpong constituency. Rai is a teacher at St. George’s School, Pedong and she will be locking horns with her colleague, the president of the Jan Andolan Party. Rai (58) teaches Nepali at St. George’s, while Chhetri is a Science teacher at the school.

According to GJM sources, the party leadership was apprehensive of Chhetri’s support base in Kalimpong and wanted to field someone with a clean image. Hence they zeroed in on Rai to gain a surprise edge. Apart from being the only female candidate to be fielded, Rai was also the president of the GJM women’s wing of Kalimpong sub-division till 2013. She is not known to be outspoken or to have an aggressive stance, but the sources said Rai is well-known in
Sarita Rai GJM candidate fielded from Kalimpong constituency
Sarita Rai GJM candidate fielded from Kalimpong constituency
Kalimpong and wielded quite an influence on the various units of the GJM in the region. Her past record could be utilised for good stead by the party when it would matter most, they added.

Announcing the candidates’ names, GJM president Bimal Gurung said, “We must look beyond personal interests and strive to work for the people. We must not feel unhappy when things do not happen according to our wishes, and remain positive to make the future better.” He praised Sharma, the candidate from Kurseong, for his wholehearted support to the statehood cause.

Urging the three candidates to work for the people with sincerity and diligence, the GJM chief said, “We have given three able candidates from the hills. They are all qualified in their respective fields and we hope they get popular people support to ensure their victory.” He also asked the GTA Sabhasads, municipal councilors and the party’s frontal organisations to ensure the victory of the three candidates.

Responding to her nomination, Rai said she was taken utterly by surprise. “When I left home this morning for Darjeeling to attend this programme, not once did it occur to me that I would be nominated by the party from Kalimpong. When our party president announced my name, it took me some time to come to terms with the development,” said Rai, who was sitting in the audience section unlike the other two nominees, who were on the dais.

When asked how she planned to take on her colleague, the JAP president, in the political arena, Rai was diplomatic. “We were inspired by him both at school and in the party,” she said. “And he has left the party at a time when the hills, and Kalimpong particularly, is dealing with the issues of a separate district and community development boards. But, ‘mudda’ (political issues) and friendship are two different things and I would like to keep them that way and continue working for what my party stands for.”

Meanwhile, Gurung said the GJM has decided to field advocate Altamus Chowdhury from Islampur, Haji Nasir Ahmed Khan from Chopra and Bishal Lama from Kalchini on party tickets, and extend support to BJP candidates John Barla in Nagarkatta, Manoj Tigga in Madirahat and Lewis Kujur in Kumargram. He however, was non committal on naming candidates from Siliguri and said he would wait for the BJP to make a move first. “The BJP is yet to announce candidates from Siliguri. And we will take a decision only after the announcement,” he said.

The GJM today also made public the party’s election manifesto on expected lines: by giving top priority to the statehood demand, and promising to pursue the issues of securing ‘parcha-patta’ for tea garden workers, tribal status for hill communities, a central university, and reintroducing the three-tier panchayat system along with the social and educational development of the region.

[Via: ECOI, Pics: Biren Lama Tamang]

GJM Candidates Declared for Darjeeling and Doors for Assemble election 2016

3:04 PM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has declared their list of candidates for Darjeeling and Dooars seats for the upcoming Bengal Assembly Election 2016 in April. Interestingly Ms. Sarita Rai is contesting from Kalimpong who will be contesting against Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri.

Here is the full list.

Darjeeling : Mr. Amar Singh Rai
Kalimpong: Ms. Sarita Rai
Kurseong: Dr Rohit Sharma
Nagarkata: Mr. John Barla
Islampur Chopra: Mr. M Altamas Choudhary
Chopra: Mr Hazi Naseer Ahmed Khan
Kalchini: Mr. Bishal Lama
Madirahat: Mr. Manoj Tigga
Kumar Gram: Mr. Lewis Kujur

GJM Candidates  for Assemble election 2016
GJM Candidates  for Assemble election 2016

Via TheDC

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

Videos - Kalimpong part of Bhutan, a lease-hold land - Bimal Gurung

9:53 AM
Addressing GJM public meeting at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong on Gurung 28th Jan 2016 GJM chief Bimal Gurung suggested that Kalimpong could not get the status of a district till the lease was cancelled and India incorporated the area.Kalimpong is a no man's land, lease-hold land, you first show by incorporating this area inside your own Bharat ...

"Let the Central government understand this. I don't have to make the state government understand. First the central government must understand; this is a no man's land, lease-hold land, you first show by incorporating this area inside your own Bharat ...Let Bengal's Miss Mamata Banerjee not boast that this is your place. You can never lay claim to it. For this, we will talk to the Indian government, otherwise at the international level," he said.

Watch the videos

Kalimpong part of Bhutan, a lease-hold land

India should first incorporate Kalimpong into Indian territory

Kalimpong part of Bhutan, a lease-hold land - Bimal Gurung

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