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Dooars Morcha leaders resign

Darjeeling, Sept. 4: Two leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Dooars have quit the organisation and dissolved the committee in the plains, disappointed with the party’s perceived indifference towards the region after the formation of the GTA.

Padam Lama, the president of the Morcha’s Dooars committee, said he and Ganesh Allay, the secretary of the Dooars committee, had resigned and dissolved the committee.

Lama said today: “I have tendered my resignation from the party and so has Allay. We have also dissolved the Morcha’s Dooars committee.”

He alleged that the Morcha leadership in the hills had forgotten the party workers in the plains after the formation of the GTA.

“During the 44-45-month-long agitation, it was the people in the Dooars and Terai who had to face difficulties as not all in the plains were in favour of statehood, unlike in the hills. In the hills, it was relatively easy during the agitation. The hill leadership first talked about Gorkhaland, then they settled for the GTA and we also supported their decision to go in for elections,” Lama said.

“However, after the formation of the GTA, they neither call us nor discuss with us any party activities.”

Lama said the Morcha leaders in the plains were finding it difficult to reach out to their supporters.

“We have nothing to show our supporters. How do you expect us to mobilise our supporters in the plains as the GTA is now only for the hills?” he asked.

“The funds that will come to the GTA cannot be used in the plains. Even the panchayat elections are nearing but we have nothing to show to our supporters,” Lama said.

That resentment was brewing among the Morcha’s office-bearers in the plains was hinted by adivasi leader John Barla during his visit to Darjeeling recently. Barla had said at a programme that the Morcha leadership should remain in touch with the cadres in the plains.

The resignations would also hurt Barla, whose Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Morcha are planning to fight the coming panchayat elections jointly in the plains.

“A strong and an active Morcha would have meant that Barla would have been assured of some support. With resentment in the rank and file of the Morcha growing in the plains, Barla should be a worried man today,” said an observer.

The Morcha’s disenchantment in the plains could mean gain for the Trinamul Congress.

Sources said several Morcha cadres had joined Trinamul recently.

Lama, too, admitted that many from his party had shifted to Trinamul. “I have decided to stay at home and take care of my business but many cadres have started joining Trinamul,” Lama said.

Chandan Bhowmik, the Jalpaiguri district Trinamul president, said he was aware of the Morcha developments in the plains.

“We have always said people who had formed and joined any organisation after being frustrated at the Left Front government’s neglect of the Dooars should join hands with us for the sake of development of the region under Mamata Banerjee’s rule,” Bhowmik said.

Trinamul insiders, however, said talks were in progress with some Morcha leaders at a local level. “Many of them have expressed their willingness to join our party as they are disappointed with their leaders’ silence after the formation of GTA,” said a Trinamul leader.

“Considering the present state of affairs, we are sure that the Dooars will see a complete political change ahead of the panchayat polls,” he added.

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri confirmed the resignation of the two leaders.

“We will sit for a meeting soon and we will definitely form a new committee. We have supporters in the Dooars,” is all that Giri said on the issue.