The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 5 , 2014
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Morcha meet invite to all groups

Darjeeling, Feb. 4: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has invited leaders of various hill communities to attend the party’s meeting at Jamuni in Darjeeling tomorrow where the party’s stand on the coming Lok Sabha elections is expected to be taken.

All Morcha portfolio holders in the hills as well as in the Terai and the Dooars have been invited to the meeting. A “friendship feast” will be organised after the political meeting.

“Morcha MLAs, central committee members, leaders of the over 25 frontal organisations of the party, presidents and secretaries at the block and GTA levels and leaders of various communities have been invited to Jamuni tomorrow,” said a senior Morcha leader. The invitation card read: “With best compliments of the New Year 2014. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha party has organised an important meeting and prithi bhoj (friendship feast). In this programme the founder president of the party and the chief executive of GTA, Bimal Gurung, will be present. Central Committee, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.”

The priti bhoj (friendship feast) will be held on the banks of the Little Rangit river at Jamuni, 20km from Darjeeling.

Sources said Lepcha leaders from Darjeeling who were perceived to be close to the Morcha have been invited to Jamuni tomorrow. However, they said, no member of the Lepcha development board has been invited.

The decision to invite leaders of various communities, including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to the event comes at a time several communities have approached the state government to form their own development boards. During her recent visit to the hills, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said a development board would be formed for the Tamangs.

The Lepchas were the first in the hills to get such a board, a move that had active support of the chief minister.

Many other communities such as the Sherpas are also clamouring for a development board under the state government. “The invitation to community leaders to tomorrow’s event is an attempt to bring them closer to the Morcha in the run up to the Lok Sabha election,” said an observer.

Most of the community leaders from Darjeeling, during an informal interaction today, confirmed the invitation and also their participation. “There is no harm in attending the event,” said a leader who didn’t want to be named.

Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: “Our party president, Bimal Gurung, will be addressing the gathering tomorrow. He will speak on issues related to the recent political developments in the hills.”

Sources said the Morcha leadership would also discuss its strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha election at the meeting tomorrow. “However, if the party decides to field its own candidate, its unlikely that his/her name will be declared tomorrow,” said a Morcha source.