| Former MP Saman Pathak in Darjeeling on Friday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, April 13: The CPM has decided to organise May Day celebrations in Darjeeling after four years, an indication that the party is trying to make a comeback in the hills when other outfits opposed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha have become inactive.
The CPM had last celebrated May Day in the district headquarters in 2007 after which the party did not organise any event to mark the day following the emergence of the Morcha as a political power in the Darjeeling hills.
Saman Pathak, a former Rajya Sabha member of the CPM, today said: We had actually wanted to hold a public meeting in Darjeeling on May 1. But we learnt that other political parties had also plans to hold meetings at Chowk Bazar and as it was difficult to get permission for the use of the public address system, we have decided to organise an indoor meeting at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan Hall.
The CPRM has obtained permission to organise the May Day function at Chowk Bazar. The Morcha affiliated Janmukti Unorganised Sector Labour Union, also plans to organise an event on May 1. Police said they would give permission to all parties to hold May Day events at different locations in town.
K.B. Wattar, the district secretariat member of the CPM, said after the 2007 May Day meeting in Darjeeling, the party had restricted itself to organising low-key functions at other places in the hills.
The CPMs decision is seen as an indication that the party now feels that the atmosphere in the hills is conducive to resume its political activities after the Morcha agreed to the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
In the past, the Morcha was riding high on the emotional issue of identity and statehood. It was difficult for other parties to organise any event. Since, the emotional factor has in a way waned with the party agreeing to form the GTA, we think we can restart our activities, said a CPM leader.
Wattar, in fact, today talked of the CPMs plan to consolidate its strength in tea gardens. We have some presence in 21 (of the 87) tea gardens in the hills now. The party has started a membership drive in another 10 gardens. Our target is to form units in at least 50 per cent of the estates.
During the May Day celebration, the CPM will speak on issues like granting land rights (patta) to garden workers and demand that all tea planters start the construction of houses for labourers.