The Telegraph
Thursday , April 3 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

GNLF pushes back decision to April 4

- Speculation of support to Trinamul

Siliguri, April 2: Senior GNLF leaders today said the party’s central committee would take the decision on whom to support in the Lok Sabha polls on April 4 amid indications that several political parties had approached party chief Subash Ghisingh.

Ghisingh has been staying in Darjeeling since March 19 and was supposed to take the decision today.

“It is true that a central committee meeting was planned today. But for certain reasons, the meeting has been deferred and will be held on April 4 in Darjeeling, a day ahead of the Foundation Day of our party,” said Nima Lama, the convener of the Kurseong branch committee of the GNLF, today.

“At the meeting, we will take the final decision on whom the GNLF will support in the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

Bimal Gurung had sought Ghisingh’s support for BJP candidate S.S. Ahluwalia at a public meeting in Sukna on March 30.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is supporting the BJP that favours the creation of small states and has spoken of “sympathetically” looking at the aspirations of the Gorkhas in Darjeeling.

The GNLF would find it tough to ally with the BJP as it is against the Morcha, with which the national party is in an alliance.

The GNLF cannot put up a candidate now as the time for filing nomination for the April 17 election was over on March 26.

The GNLF has misgivings about the Congress and the Left.

Lama, asked about the party’s possible stance, said: “We are disappointed with the Congress. Back in 2004, we had voted Dawa Narbula to the Lok Sabha, Despite being elected in the UPA I government, he could not get the Sixth Schedule bill passed in Parliament. Similarly, the Left government in the state, which was in power till 2011, did not take up the issue of Sixth Schedule status with the Centre.” This leaves the GNLF with only one option — Trinamul.

No party leader would speak openly on supporting Trinamul as this would mean the GNLF was supporting a party opposed to statehood.

A party insider said: “There are less chances that the party will respond to Bimal Gurung,” a senior GNLF leader said on the condition of anonymity. “This leaves us with only one option — Trinamul — unless the central committee and the party chairman (Ghisingh) takes an extraordinary and surprising decision.”

A source in the hills said: “Ahead of the elections, the return of Ghisingh to the hills has boosted the supporters’ morale. They are waiting for a decision now. In the 2011 Assembly elections, when the Morcha had absolute control in the hills and there was no presence of Trinamul, the GNLF had fielded candidates in the three Assembly segments, but could not campaign. Even then, the three candidates together managed to get 42,000 votes together.” The source added: “Ghisingh was not in the hills then. Now that Trinamul has entered the hills and Mahendra P. Lama (the Independent candidate) is consistently working for over a year in the hills to create a support base, there are indications of a reduction in the Morcha’s support base. Also, Ghisingh’s entry in the hills is bound to have an effect on common people.”

A senior Trinamul leader said today: “It is evident that Bimal Gurung is concerned about the results in the hills if the GNLF allies with Trinamul. He has thus invited his former political guru to join hands.”