Sept. 25: Bimal Gurung has said he wants to leave the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC), the conglomerate headed by him that was steering the statehood agitation.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief also dropped hints yesterday that not all the other five committee constituents were in agreement with the Morcha on the next course of the statehood agitation. Gurung had recently said the land was “seeking blood”, but other outfits wanted to stick to peaceful means of protest.
Apart from the Morcha, the other constituents are the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM), Congress (Hills), BJP and the apolitical Bharatiya Gorkha Parisang and Gorkhaland Task Force.
Leaders of the other outfits said they would reserve their comments till a committee meeting on October 19.
Sources in the hills said Gurung’s exit as chairman could affect the conglomerate adversely.
Gurung told a TV network in Kalimpong yesterday: “I don’t want to stay the chairman of GJAC. Some obstacles come with the post.”
He said other party leaders would continue to represent the party at meetings. The committee has no fixed number of members. Generally senior leaders such as Roshan Giri and Harka Bahadur Chhetri attend its meetings.
The conglomerate was formed in mid-August to spearhead the movement for Gorkhaland.
“The state government is adopting a divide and rule policy here. By indulging in communal politics, attempts are being made to ensure a fight among ourselves,” Gurung said. “I have already said there is a possibility of the agitation turning violent because of the policies of the state government. We should be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Many other parties, however, say they do not believe in violence even when told about the state government’s attempt to give a violent turn to the agitation.”
On the GTA, Gurung said even though his party has agreed on scrapping the GTA, but at an opportune time, some parties wanted the Morcha to reject the set-up immediately. “Even though it has been decided to dump GTA at an appropriate time, other parties are only harping on its immediate scrapping,” he said.
A source in Darjeeling said: “Since the Morcha is the largest party in the hills, it will be difficult for the JAC to do the decision-making (after Gurung leaves). Gurung has already shown that he has a propensity for making unilateral decisions as president of the Morcha.” He said that Gurung may want to steer the agitation’s course that could put the committee in a spot.
Morcha leaders refused comment on Gurung’s announcement.
Enos Das Pradhan, the national president of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisang and advisor to the joint action committee, said he would wait till the matter was discussed in the committee. “Gurung was elected as the chairman in the forum of JAC. If indeed he harbours such a desire it will have to be brought before the proper forum. One can’t react on the basis of media reports,” he said.
The agitation has been suspended till October 20. The committee is schedule to sit for a meeting on October 19.
On the GTA, Pradhan said the picture would be clear on Friday when the GTA is scheduled to meet. “The Morcha has decided to scrap the GTA at an appropriate time. It can’t go back on it. We will have to wait till September 27 to know the position of the Morcha,” he said.
Govind Chhetri, spokesman of the CPRM, said: “For us the most important issue is regarding the GTA meeting scheduled for September 27. A lot will depend on the way they (Morcha) handle the issue.”
R.D. Meena, the principal secretary of the GTA, has called a meeting of the GTA Sabha on September 27 to elect the next chief executive of the GTA.