Ghisingh’s supporters outside his home in Darjeeling on Sunday. Pictures by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, June 22: Subash Ghisingh who had confined himself to his residence in Darjeeling since his return to the hills on March 19 told his supporters on his 80th birthday that he was “not yet finished”.
The GNLF chief, whose writ ran in the hills for 20 years, refused to elaborate on political issues.
Ghisingh was never known to address his supporters on his birthday in the past.
Sources in the hills said his public appearance was an attempt to make himself relevant in hill politics, although the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha did not attribute much significance to Ghisingh’s utterance.
“I am not yet finished but this is not the platform for a political speech,” Ghisingh said in his five-minute address to GNLF supporters gathered outside his residence on Dr Zakir Hussain Road.
“I will talk about politics from either Kalimpong, Kurseong or from Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling. Chowk Bazar is the place for political speeches,” Ghisingh told around 300 supporters.
The leader later said he had not yet finalised the venue or the date for his speech.
Throughout today, there was a steady flow of supporters to Ghisingh’s residence to greet him.
Ghisingh met them in turns.
The visitors danced in front of Ghisingh’s home and many had come with bouquets and gifts for their leader.
M.G. Subba, the convenor of the GNLF’s Darjeeling branch committee, said Ghisingh had made an impromptu speech at the request of the supporters.
“People have been coming to greet him since 7am. Nothing was planned. We requested him to speak to the supporters. Soon, we will start working to revive the GNLF and seek the Sixth Schedule for the hills. We want the DGHC to be revived and kept functional till the Sixth Schedule status is granted to the hills.”
In his speech, Ghisingh didn’t directly speak on the GNLF’s call for the inclusion of the hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution but made an indirect reference to the demand.
He told supporters to pray for his health as he was not keeping too well.
Told about Ghisingh's assertion that he was not yet finished, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, said: “The Sixth Schedule and the DGHC for which Ghisingh stood are dead. He has no other issues to come out with in politics. Ghisingh has no significance in the hill politics now.”
Ghisingh had mostly stayed away from Darjeeling since 2008. He left Darjeelnig for Jalpaiguri on July 26, 2008, and came back in April 2011 to campaign for the GNLF in the Assembly polls. Ghisingh left Darjeeling once again on May 16, 2011.
However, on his return to Darjeeling on March 19, Ghisingh had told his supporters that he had come to stay permanently in Darjeeling.
The GNLF had supported the Trinamul Congress in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
N.B. Khawash, the general secretary of hill Trinamul, said: “It is not good to comment on Ghisingh’s political stand.”