|Bimal Gurung, John Barla
Siliguri, Sept. 5: Adivasi leader John Barla today spoke to disgruntled Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders from the Dooars and Terai who have quit the party, requesting them not to leave the hill outfit.
Barla today talked to Padam Lama and Ganesh Allay, who said yesterday that they had quit the Morcha, and a few other leaders over phone.
Lama and Allay had resigned as the president and the secretary of the Morcha’s Dooars committee and dissolved the panel, saying the party leadership was indifferent to the cadres in the plains after the formation of the GTA.
Many cadres who resigned from the Morcha in the plains have joined the Trinamul Congress.
“There was a communication gap between the Morcha leaders in the plains and the top brass in the hills, leading to a misunderstanding. Today, I talked to the Morcha leaders like Padam Lama Ganesh Allay and urged them not to leave the party. We will hold a meeting with them and other Morcha leaders in the Dooars on Friday and listen to their grievance. We will request them to stay in the Morcha as the panchayat polls are round the corner,” said Barla.
The tribal leader, who joined the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, will have to pull out all stops to make sure that the Gorkha outfit’s base in the plains remains intact. According to observers, Barla knows well that he would be the main loser if the Morcha’s strength dissipates in the plains.
“Barla had announced that the JMM would contest the panchayat polls after forging an alliance with the Morcha. If more leaders quit the Morcha, Barla would be left with little support in the Dooars. After Barla’s expulsion from his parent organisation, the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, he has been counting on the Morcha,” said an observer.
Barla had last month drawn the attention of Morcha president Bimal Gurung to the pent-up anger of cadres in the Dooars and Terai. He asked the Morcha leadership to focus on the plains and redress the grievances of the supporters there.
The adivasi leader today said he would again impress upon the Morcha leadership the need for concentrating on the cadres in the plains.
“A meeting has been scheduled with the Morcha president in Darjeeling for Sunday. When I meet Morcha leaders from the Dooars on Friday, I would urge them to join me for the trip to Darjeeling. I would specifically mention the reasons cited by the Morcha office-bearers in the plains for their resignations during the meeting with Gurung and drive home my point that it is imminent for the party to concentrate on the plains,” said Barla.
But many more disgruntled Morcha members have expressed their intention to join Trinamul.
“Its better for us to join Trinamul to meet our demands like land rights and development of the Dooars and Terai. Since we are outside the purview of the GTA, it is clear that the Morcha can’t do much for us,” said a Morcha member.
On its part, Trinamul said it was waiting for instructions from the leadership regarding the expansion of the party in the Dooars and Terai.
“We have submitted a report to railway minister and Trinamul leader Mukul Roy on the current political situation in the Dooars and Terai. We will apprise him of the strengths and weaknesses of the party and our trade union and areas where we can pull the Gorkhas and the adivasis to our fold,” said a Trinamul leader in Jalpaiguri district.
“The party is also finding out the responsibilities and posts which could be given to those who leave the Morcha and join Trinamul. We are waiting for an instruction from the leadership on the inclusion of more members in Trinamul,” he added.