Enos Das Pradhan
Darjeeling, Oct. 18: Enos Das Pradhan, one of the leaders of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee, today said “differences have definitely surfaced” among the constituents of the hill conglomerate that was leading the statehood agitation.
Das Pradhan, who leads the apolitical outfit Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, did not blame anyone but hinted that lack of clarity on whether Bimal Gurung would lead the committee could adversely affect the movement.
“Differences have definitely surfaced. In the past, too, the (Gorkha Janmukti) Morcha has taken unilateral decisions like continuing with the indefinite closure, despite being in the committee,” he said.
On August 22, the morning after the arrest of Morcha leader Binay Tamang, the party unilaterally decided to extend the general strike indefinitely. Das Pradhan said then that the JAC “appreciated the circumstances” under which the Morcha took the decision.
The comment about differences from Das Pradhan came on a day a meeting of the committee, scheduled for tomorrow to discuss the future course of the agitation, was called off.
Das Pradhan, the spokesman for the committee, said: “As far as I know, the meeting will not be held as the Morcha president (Gurung) has not yet confirmed whether he will remain the chairman of the committee or not. We want the Morcha to be fully involved with the committee.”
Das Pradhan had been made the chairman when the committee was formed in August. Later, the committee decided to make Gurung its leader. But after chairing one meeting, Gurung said he did not want to continue as the committee’s chairman. The committee refused to accept Gurung’s resignation and requested him to continue leading the JAC.
The committee comprises the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, CPRM, BJP, Congress (Hills) and the apolitical Parisangh and the Gorkhaland Task Force.
The JAC had last met on September 10 when it decided to relax the shutdown in the hills till October 20. Later, it was decided that the outfits would wait till the tripartite talks with the Centre and the state.
Das Pradhan today said: “When the GTA was formed, Bimal Gurung asked Roshan Giri (the Morcha general secretary) to sign the agreement and later he went around saying he had not signed the agreement. This time, too, he wants Giri to be on the committee but he wants to distance himself from the committee, which we think is not right.”
CPRM spokesperson Govind Chhetri said: “Any meeting of the committee… will be stuck on who will be the president. Moreover, the Morcha has shown an inclination to stay in the GTA, which is not acceptable.”
Giri said: “Most probably, the meeting will take place after the tripartite talks.”