Darjeeling, March 14: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to stick to its alliance with John Barla for the panchayat polls in the Dooars and Terai even though the tribal leader has an alliance with Trinamul, sources in the hill party said.
However, there were whispers within the organisation against Barla’s announcement of a tie-up with the Trinamul Congress in an “arbitrary way”.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha led by John Barla in north Bengal had said yesterday that his party would enter into an electoral understanding with Trinamul in the Dooars and the Terai to contest the panchayat elections. The alliance was announced after a meeting between Barla and Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy.
The Morcha today held a meeting of GTA Sabha members at Sibchu. Speaking over the phone from Sibchu, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said: “The meeting with the GTA Sabha members was an organisational one. The leaders also discussed the upcoming panchayat elections.”
Giri refused to divulge the strategy for the elections in the plains, but sources said the party was of the opinion that its best bet at the moment would be to align with Barla.
In the Dooars, the adivasis are in a majority followed by the Gorkha population.
Asked about the Barla-Roy meeting, Giri merely said: “John Barla is still with us.”
The sources, however, said at the meeting, many Morcha leaders were of the opinion that Barla should be asked to explain his decision on aligning with Trinamul without taking the Morcha’s consent.
“Even though there were enough indications that Barla was also looking at aligning with Trinamul, some of the leaders felt that the adivasi leader should have discussed his plans in detail and taken the Morcha into confidence. However, the overwhelming feeling among the Morcha leaders was that the party should continue with the alliance in the plains,” said a source.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung, who was present at the meeting, is believed to have sought feedback from the GTA Sabha members regarding the organisational activities in 45 constituencies.
“The party has directed its leaders to be on constant guard and not to lose touch with its supporters in the rural areas,” said another source.
Since the activities of the GTA Sabha could not be discussed in detail today, the sources said Gurung had directed the GTA Sabha to convene a meeting in Darjeeling at 2pm tomorrow. Countering Mamata Banerjee’s statement to the media at Sibchu yesterday, Giri said: “It is wrong to say at the moment that Morcha has aligned with the Congress for a parliamentary seat.”
Without naming the Congress and the Morcha, Mamata had said some were tolerating the politics of violence keeping an eye on the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
He alleged that paramilitary personnel had been sent to Darjeeling merely to crush the Gorkhaland movement. “It will be wrong for the chief minister to think that the movement can be crushed by CRPF forces. The more she talks about being rough and tough, the more intense will be the movement,” said Giri.