Darjeeling, May 19: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was invited to attend a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance in New Delhi tomorrow, moments after the hill party had instructed its three MLAs today to sit on the Opposition benches in the Bengal Assembly.
The invitation to the NDA meeting and the Morcha’s decision to sit on the Opposition bench have formally sealed the hill party’s severing of ties with the Trinamul Congress.
Central committee members of the Morcha today held a meeting with members of the party’s study forum and subdivisional committees and leaders of other frontal organisations at Malidhura, 7km from Darjeeling, to review the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
“The meeting was chaired by president Bimal Gurung. During his address, he clearly instructed three Morcha MLAs to sit on the Opposition benches. At the fag end of the meeting, Gurung received a call from the BJP leadership, inviting Morcha leaders to the NDA meeting scheduled to be held at the BJP headquarters in Delhi at 2pm tomorrow,” said a Morcha source.
Following the invitation from the BJP, Gurung along with general secretary Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, Jyoti Kumar Rai (assistant secretary) and Swaraj Thapa (study forum member) left for Calcutta around 5.30pm today. “We are leaving for Calcutta as we have to catch a flight to Delhi at 10am tomorrow to attend the NDA meeting,” said Tamang.
Gurung’s instruction to the Morcha MLAs to sit on the Opposition benches is seen as a clear indication of his confidence that the NDA will back him if he needs to take on Mamata Banerjee.
On August 17, 2013, when the Morcha had started the last phase of the Gorkhaland agitation, the party directed the three MLAs to sit on the Opposition benches. Giri also wrote to the Speaker for the change of seats of the MLAs. However, the request was turned down by the Speaker on the grounds that the appeal hadn’t come from the party’s leader in the Assembly.
With relations between Mamata and Gurung improving following a meeting in Darjeeling on October, 2013, the matter was not pursued by the Morcha.
Shops remained closed at Mungpoo, 35km from Darjeeling, on Monday following a clash between Trinamul and Morcha supporters. Ratan Thapa, a Morcha central committee member from Mungpoo and also a GTA Sabha member, alleged that Trinamul supporters had attacked the Morcha office at Mungpoo on Monday morning and beaten up two supporters who were inside.
Trinamul denied the charge and its flags had been burnt down by Morcha supporters on Sunday night.