Darjeeling, Aug. 28: Bimal Gurung today took written opinions from party leaders on the way forward for the Gorkhaland agitation, the move indicating he does not want to take decisions before gauging the public mood.
Gurung sought the opinions of leaders of Morcha frontal organisations on four questions. He wanted to know their mind on the current mode of protest — the indefinite strike in the hills.
The second question was what should be the party’s response given the state government’s policy to arrest Morcha leaders and activists.
Gurung also wanted to know what the leaders thought about the way forward for the agitation. Should the Morcha let schools and government offices re-open?
The Morcha chief wanted the leaders to give their opinion on the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee and its programmes.
Leaders of the eight-outfit conglomerate said on August 20 that there was confusion in the leadership.
At the Morcha’s Singamari party office, Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri gave details on the four points that Gurung highlighted today.
The Morcha has not got any positive signal from the Centre on its statehood agitation. On the other hand, the state government has continued arresting its party leaders.
Leaders of the Nari Morcha, Yuva Morcha and trade union faces were present at the meeting in Malidhura, about 5km from Darjeeling.
Chhetri, who is the spokesman of the party, said: “Our party president Bimal Gurung today sought written opinions from the representatives of the party’s different frontal organisations and senior leaders on four specific issues. These will be studied by the party and a decision on the future course of action will be discussed at the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee meeting scheduled for August 30.”
A total of 147 written responses were submitted to Gurung today.
“The party leadership will go through all the submissions by tomorrow and will sit with the joint action committee leadership on August 30 to take a final call on all issues,” said Chhetri.
Asked about the need for such an exercise, Chhetri said since the agitation was now a people’s movement, the party was trying to build consensus on the way forward.
“It is always good to develop consensus. This is why a final call will be taken not just after going through the party leaders’ opinions but also after talking to members of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee,” he said.
Observers believe that given the public sentiment attached with the demand and also the people’s concern on prolonged closure of educational institutions, Gurung did not want to be seen as taking all decisions on his own.
“The move is probably an attempt to ensure that Gurung is not held responsible for the entire movement,” said an observer.
Leaders of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union were present as were members of the Janmukti Hotel Owners’ Association. They too have submitted their opinions.
Some hoteliers, who are not with the association, privately said that they wanted the agitation to go on till something was achieved so that the turmoil and uncertainty gets over at one go.