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CM trip triggers state call
‘Gorkhaland ultimate aim’

Darjeeling, Sept. 4: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today retaliated to Mamata Banerjee’s perceived efforts to erode the authority of the GTA Sabha by giving a renewed call for a separate Gorkhaland after a period of at least one year.

During her three-day visit to Kalimpong which ended today, Mamata had announced a “mini” chief minister’s office would be set up in Darjeeling and a committee that would comprise the district magistrate and others would be formed to preserve mountain streams in the hills under the 100-day work scheme.

The Morcha feels the announcements would lead to “dual administration” in the hills and erode the powers of the GTA.

Bimal Gurung

In a public statement, Gurung said today: “The GTA is not the ultimate goal of the Morcha. Gorkhaland is my ultimate aim and my dream. This dream and goal will soon be fulfilled....We will soon be celebrating Gorkhaland....”

In the statement written in Nepali, Gurung also said: “If this (accepting the GTA) was the need of the hour, we will use the GTA as a ladder... This land has been made fertile by the sweat and blood of our martyrs and ancestors. This land is a thousand times more important to us than any chair or power...”

Morcha leaders said Gurung had not made such a fervent appeal for statehood ever since the strike from July 29 to September 10 last year. “Mamata’s announcements in the hills prompted Gurung to issue the statement. She had even announced some tourism projects for the hills though tourism is a department transferred to the GTA. This was an insult and provocation for those who had fought hard for the GTA,” said a Morcha leader.