The Telegraph
Thursday , February 6 , 2014
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Unity sermon, not poll stand, on Gurung lips

- Morcha chief sticks to progress plank

Darjeeling, Feb. 5: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today requested all hill communities to “remain united keeping in mind the larger picture” but said nothing on the party’s strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Gurung was expected to spell out the Morcha’s plans for the general election at a meeting in Jamuni today. But when he started his speech around 3pm, the Morcha president made it clear he would say nothing on the matter now.

“Today, I will not speak about the Lok Sabha election or our party candidate. We will take a decision on the issue at an opportune moment. We will not adopt a strategy according to what the government of India or the state government wants,” Gurung said.

Representatives of different hill communities were invited to the Morcha meeting in Jamuni, 20km from here.

Morcha leaders, who spoke before Gurung, also indicated that they were waiting for direction on the general elections from the party leadership.

Diwarkar Gurung, organising secretary of the Morcha and the leader who conducted today’s meeting, said: “Senior leaders of our party are here and they might talk about the party’s Lok Sabha election plans.”

Many Morcha speakers, including Gurung, stressed the need for the hill people and the Gorkhas to be united.

“I am increasingly feeling that various Gorkha sub-communities are forgetting about Gorkha unity. I feel the situation is emerging in a way that in the days to come, a Gurung will not go to a Rai family house where there has been a death. Probably, a Chhetri will not be there for the Tamang people during crisis and vice-versa. We Gorkhas are a community which takes great pride in our recognition as a brave community but we are slowly getting scattered,” Gurung said.

“Please remain united, keeping in mind the larger picture. I have no problems with the government forming boards for different communities,” Gurung said.

“In fact, when Mamata Banerjee was in Darjeeling, I had requested her to form development boards for all hill communities. I have also requested her to initiate a process so that 10 Gorkha communities are enlisted in the Schedule Tribe list. After forming so many boards, I think the state government can also dissolve the GTA,” the Morcha chief said.

A representative of a hill community present at the meeting today said: “We are not trying to break Gorkha unity as it will always remain. We are only trying to demand some facilities to preserve and protect our culture, especially, when the government has made such a provision.”

Sources said Gurung’s speech on Gorkha unity stems from the growing demand of all Gorkha sub-communities to enlist themselves as Schedule Tribes.

Today, the Morcha chief also spoke about the need to develop the hills and said he would go all out to do so in his remaining three-and-half-year tenure at the GTA.

“We have enough funds to develop the hills. I have sanctioned Rs 27 crore for developing Mirik Lake and other tourist spots there. A team will visit Dudhia-Sukna area to inspect land where we can set up a super-speciality hospital,” Gurung said.