The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cheers to deal, Opp. tickled pink
- PDF asks 'teetotaller' Ghisingh to furnish details of pact & not take people for a ride

Darjeeling, Dec. 12: The Opposition today said Subash Ghisingh's promise of tongbas for all was 'funny' since the GNLF leader was himself a teetotaller.

Matching the fiery speech that the GNLF leader had delivered yesterday at Chowk Bazar, the PDF' an anti-Ghisingh coalition in the hills ' reminded Ghisingh that people had had enough violence in the past few years.

'This is not like the period of Gorkhaland agitation that we will be afraid. People too are sensible. His speech did not mention anything about the Sixth Schedule. How are we to accept or oppose the status when we don't even have a clue about the new body,' said Madan Tamang, chairman of the PDF. 'He wants the entire population to drink tongbas (alcoholic drink). This is funny. What about himself'

Ghisingh's speech yesterday seemed to indicate, other than the fact that scribes and the Opposition should be aware of the powers of a khukuri, that the only achievement of the Sixth Schedule was the freedom to drink tongbas.

The Opposition parties lost no opportunity to criticise the state government. 'This is not Ghisinghspeak. The government has told the GNLF leader to try and shut up all the voices speaking for Gorkhaland and hence the threats,' said Tamang.

The PDF maintained that the hill people would have been more happy had Ghisingh explained to them the powers and functions of the new body. 'He was supposedly celebrating a victory. Why was he not happy and took to aggressive posturing' There must be some reason,' said Tamang.

R.B. Rai, the general secretary of the CPRM, said Ghisingh's speech was provocative. 'More than the Sixth Schedule and Gorkhaland, the issue of law and order has now become our primary concern,' he said.

Rai also reminded Ghisingh that he has attained his current status because of a democratic set-up. 'So he should now see to it that it functions properly. The Opposition has the right to criticise him and we will continue to do so,' he added.

The press fraternity in Darjeeling has sent a letter to the President, the Prime Minister, the home minister, the Governor and the chief minister of West Bengal condemning Ghisingh's provocative statements.

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