Darjeeling, Sept. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s elected GTA members could vote to elect the autonomous body’s chief tomorrow but a section in the party is still against it, sources in the hills said today.
Party leaders said the decision would be taken tomorrow at a 10am huddle in Darjeeling, two hours before the meeting to choose the next GTA chief.
Bimal Gurung, the Morcha president, quit the post of GTA chief executive on July 30, necessitating the election.
A section of the Morcha feels that the elected GTA members, who are all from the Morcha, should participate in the election.
A source said some in the Morcha want to participate in the election now because there is a “general feeling that the state government could use GTA for political purposes”.
But another group feels the GTA members must not participate till nine of the council’s members and over 1,100 Morcha supporters are set free. The demand is not new but carries the risk of allowing the state government an opening to appoint an administrator to the hill autonomous body.
Roshan Giri, the Morcha general secretary and GTA Sabha member, said over phone from Calcutta today: “The party has not taken any decision regarding electing the new chief executive. The decision will be taken at the party’s meeting, which is scheduled to be held at 10am tomorrow.”
Today, one of the GTA members was granted bail. Pankaj Prasad, the assistant public prosecutor, said: “Satish Pokhrel was granted bail in an arson case related to burning of Takdah forest bunglow as no material evidence was found against him. The bail application of other GTA Sabha members, Binay Tamang, Kalyan Dewan and Mahendra Pradhan, were rejected.”
The Morcha had earlier said it would pull out of the GTA at a suitable time, but there seems to be pressure on the party from other constituents of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (JAC), which was steering the statehood protests, to move out of the GTA quickly. That all the JAC constituents may not be on the same page with the Morcha was hinted by Gurung when he spoke in Kalimpong two days ago, expressing his wish to quit as the committee’s head.
However, a source in the JAC, said today: “The consensus is that the GTA will be rejected at an appropriate time. Even if the Morcha takes control of the GTA, it will make it non-functional. We have also been given to understand that they will pass a resolution in the GTA for the creation of Gorkhaland. Let us see how things develop.”
Sources in the Morcha said if the party does participate in the election, it may elevate Ramesh Allay, the deputy chief executive of the GTA, as the chief executive.
On September 4, the GTA members had refused to participate in an election to choose the next GTA chief.