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Switch to GNLF & more rival inroads

Darjeeling, Nov. 19: The rivals of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha are slowly but steadily making inroads into the hills. At least nine ex-servicemen, so long Morcha members, joined the GNLF yesterday.

The GNLF claimed that other Morcha supporters, too, have started switching their allegiance, a day after the Democratic Front — a rival conglomerate comprising the CPRM, GNLF (C), ABGL and Darjeeling-Sikkim Ekikaran Manch — announced its decision to hold a seminar and a public meeting in Darjeeling in December.

“We have formed our party’s village committee at the Senchel dairy area in Ghoom-Jorebunglow yesterday. Forty houses (families) have now joined the GNLF. Anil Rai has been made the president of the committee while Sadip Rai is the general secretary,” said Sivaraj Thapa, media and publicity secretary of the GNLF’s Darjeeling branch committee.

J.B. Subba, president of the Morcha-affiliated Bharatiya Gorkha Bhutpurba Sainik Morcha (Risheehat zone), joined the GNLF along with eight former ex-serviceman at Borbotey village, 14km from town.

The switchover was a fallout of the attack on the house of Man Hang Subba, the president of the GNLF’s Borbotey Village Committee, by alleged Morcha supporters on November 14.

“We had supported Bimal Gurung on Gorkhaland but things have changed now. We want peace in the area and if the Morcha indulges in violence, we can never stay with such a party,” said Subba who is Man Hang’s father.

In another example of rival inroad, the DYFI, the youth wing of the CPM, today held its first meeting in Darjeeling after two years. “The DYFI Darjeeling-Bijanbari zonal committee had last held a meeting in Darjeeling in March 2008,” said Shyam Pradhan, the president of the DYFI’s Darjeeling zilla committee.

In fact, the CPM had to close down its office in Darjeeling for almost a year during 2008-09. The DYFI leader claimed that they had already started a membership drive. “We have enrolled about 500 youths in 2010 itself,” claimed Pradhan.

The CPM youths have also decided to hold a seminar in Darjeeling on December 10 to coincide with the International Human Rights Day. “We are reaching out to the masses on the plank of democracy, peace and development,” said Pradhan.

The DYFI has demanded that the gram panchayat elections be held immediately to give the people the political right to elect their representatives.

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