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Comeback allowed but only for campaign
- Ghisingh: special status best for hills

April 5: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it would allow Subash Ghisingh to campaign in the hills for the Lok Sabha elections, 24 hours after the GNLF had brought out a nearly 5,000-strong rally in the plains.

“If he (Ghisingh) fields a candidate or decides to support a party, he has every right to campaign in the hills,” said Binay Tamang, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha.

Ghisingh left Darjeeling on July 26, a day after Morcha activist Pramila Sharma had been killed by a bullet allegedly fired from the house of Deepak Gurung, the president of the GNLF Darjeeling Branch Committee. The Morcha said the hills would not tolerate Ghisingh’s attempt to “sneak back” without playing an active role in the elections. “If he does not support a candidate or fields his own, then the people will not allow him to take advantage of the election to sneak back into the hills,” said Tamang.

On the GNLF rally that was organised yesterday — a day before the party’s foundation day — in Panighatta, 35km from Siliguri, Tamang said he had held a meeting with Rajen Mukhia, who had organised it. Mukhia, the Morcha said, was not an active member of the GNLF till a few days ago. “It seems that he brought out the procession with GNLF flags after personal difference with the local unit leaders (of the Morcha). The meeting was very amicable and the differences will be solved within the next three four days,” said Tamang. Reacting to the Morcha claim, Mukhia, the Terai branch president of the GNLF, said: “I had been given a proposal by the Morcha leadership to join their party, but I had told them that as long as the GNLF was there, I will not do so.”

Yesterday, Mukhia had said Ghisingh was the only leader who could achieve Gorkhaland for the hill people. “We had been keeping silent for 16 months just to watch and see how Bimal Gurung worked on the demand for Gorkhaland. After being humiliated so many times by the Gurung-led Morcha, we decided to speak out… We believe that our chief, who had started the movement for Gorkhaland, will be able to get it and we are with him.”

Ghisingh had not attended the rally of 5,000 supporters. Instead he had addressed a news conference at his rented house in Jalpaiguri, 80km from Panighatta. Those who had attended the rally were mostly from the plains. In the hills, the Morcha has replaced the GNLF in that its writ runs there.

The GNLF chief said he still felt that the Sixth Schedule was the best option for the hills. “The Morcha leaders have got only some verbal assurance from the BJP. But I don’t think that one MP will be able to solve the problems of the hills. I wanted to bring Darjeeling under the Sixth Schedule (of the Constitution) because several tribes reside in the hills,” he said. “The formation of a separate state is a much complicated process and it requires consent of the state and central governments.”

“My message to my supporters and party workers is that plant the green flags of the GNLF across the hills. I have a lot of supporters in the hills and I will declare my stand on the coming election in the next three-four days.”

The GNLF gathering was significant in that the last rally of the party was brought a year ago in Kalimpong on its foundation day.

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