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Morcha team meets Advani

Roshan Giri

New Delhi, Jan. 29: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders will submit three documents on the Gorkhaland struggle to BJP leader L.K. Advani this week to push the party to take a clear stand on the statehood demand.

A group of Morcha leaders, along with MLAs from the hills and GTA Sabha members, led by Roshan Giri called on Advani at his residence today.

Over the next three days, the Morcha leadership will fine-tune and submit three documents to Advani titled “Case history of Gorkhaland”, “Why Gorkhaland” and “Gorkhaland movement”.

“We will submit the three documents so that the BJP can take a clear stand (on the issue),” Giri told The Telegraph today after a 30-minute meeting with the senior BJP leader.

“The BJP has been in favour of smaller states. After all, the party formed Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh,” Giri said.

MLAs Trilok Dewan and Rohit Sharma and two GTA Sabha members also met Advani along with Giri today.

A bill for the creation of GTA was passed in the Bengal Assembly in 2011, making way for the autonomous hill body.

Today, after the meeting with the Morcha leaders, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Prakash Javadekar said: “It is a case for justice to be done.”

Although BJP leaders have time and again said that the statehood issue should be viewed more “sympathetically”, the party has not been clear about its stand on carving out a separate state out of Bengal.

The BJP’s election manifesto in 2009 included addressing the long-pending demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland but stopped short of a commitment.

“We will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long-pending demands of the Gorkhas, the Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and Dooars region,” read the BJP manifesto.

The party’s leader Jaswant Singh even won the Lok Sabha elections from Darjeeling.

The Congress and the CPM are not known to support the statehood demand.

While the Congress wants an alternative mechanism, the CPM is opposed to the demand for a separate state.

Earlier this month, the Morcha had announced its final battle demanding a separate state after the hill party leadership suspected that the Centre was keen on carving out a separate state of Telangana.

Giri had said that it would be a “relentless” struggle and continue till Gorkhaland was achieved.

The hill party had organised a dharna in New Delhi last week demanding Gorkhaland.

The Morcha had called on Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and urged him to announce the formation of Gorkhaland along with Telangana.

But with the UPA government treading cautiously on Telangana, and the Centre toying with idea of proposing a GTA-like model there, the Morcha wants to push the BJP to come clear on the statehood issue.

“We hope that in the next two days we will submit the “Case history of Gorkhaland” to Advaniji. Our dharna at Jantar Mantar will continue,” said Giri.

He added that the Morcha had been seeking permission for the sit-in protest on a day-to-day basis.

The agitators have been granted permission by local authorities in Delhi for a dharna tomorrow, said the Morcha leader.