Sixth Schedule cry back in GNLF

Darjeeling: Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) president Mann Ghisingh on Sunday told cadres to start a campaign to secure Sixth Schedule status for the hills.

The call came weeks after the Bengal government conferred a status equivalent to a minister of state on Ghisingh as the head of a panel, the Hill Area Development Committee (HADC).

On Sunday, Ghisingh urged party workers not to get "tied up" with the committee, of which he was appointed the chairperson by the state government.

"I urge you not to get tied up or lost with the HADC and instead move forward with the Sixth Schedule demand," said Ghisingh.

The statement is a clear indication that the GNLF does not see much promise in the HADC and believes that they can get back its support base only through the Sixth Schedule status. Funds to the HADC has currently bee routed through the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha controlled Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

The GNLF has been demanding that the funds be routed through the district magistrate's office. Ghisingh's speech also underlined the fact that many within the party are not happy with the party accepting HADC.

"There was some anguish within the party because of the HADC," Ghisingh said on Sunday. Some GNLF leaders were of the opinion that HADC should not be accepted as they would be perceived as being seen working under the state government's control. Others, however, had argued that it was always beneficial for the party to be in some power.

The GNLF leader, however, said that the party should not indulge in politics of power. "Mandate is needed but here the politics is only about winning election and coming to power which is not good," said Ghisingh trying to convey to his party supporters that they should indulge in politics for the betterment of the community.

Even though Ghisingh sent a message that he did not have much confidence in HADC - a body which has not started functioning fully - he did make it clear that the party wants to maintain good relations with the government. "We have a political relation with the state government (TMC) and we are maintaining it," said Ghisingh. Observers believe Ghisingh is probably trying to convince the government to make the HADC fully autonomous.

On Sunday, Ghisingh urged his party supporters to start campaigning for Sixth Schedule "by putting up posters or even by playing recorded speeches of Appa (his father Subash Ghisingh)."


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