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Rival doubt on Gurung

Darjeeling, Dec. 13: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha started a dharna in New Delhi today to press for the creation of Gorkhaland, but the absence of Bimal Gurung from the programme prompted its hill rival ABGL to allege that he was not sincere about statehood.

Other than Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri and the president of the party’s Darjeeling sub-divisional committee, Dawa Lama, no other senior leaders are taking part in the three-day dharna at Jantar Mantar.

Gurung had announced last month the party’s decision to organise a Delhi-centric movement for Gorkhaland and asked his supporters from the Darjeeling hills to head for the capital to participate in the dharna.

Morcha sources said Gurung had decided to skip the dharna at the last moment as he sensed that no development would take place on the Telangana front now. The Morcha had renewed the campaign for statehood following the Congress’s nod to the formation of Telangana in July.

Pratap Khati, the general secretary of the ABGL, said: “This is just another example of Gurung’s insincerity towards the Gorkhaland demand. Had he been sincere, he would have been leading the dharna today. Gurung is only interested in the GTA and was never sincere about the statehood cause. He is only fooling people who are serious about the Gorkhaland demand.”

Gurung had resigned as the chief executive of the GTA on July 30, a day after he had announced a shutdown in the hills in support of Gorkhaland. Of late, there has been a growing demand from Morcha supporters for Gurung to return to the helm of the GTA.

Asked about Gurung’s absence, Giri, speaking over the phone from Delhi, said: “Bimal Gurung and the Morcha are always sincere about the Gorkhaland cause. There is still a possibility of him coming to Delhi.”

He added that around 5,000 supporters had attended the dharna today.

Giri today met S.K. Skandan, joint secretary at the Union home ministry looking after Centre-state relations.

“We talked about the recruitment of Gorkha youths into paramilitary forces, transfer of reserve forests to the GTA, implementation of a three-tier panchayat system (in the hills), and granting of tribal status to all Gorkha communities (except SCs) at the meeting,” Giri said.