The Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM). will hold a mega rally in Darjeeling on Sunday to showcase its support base at a time when its chief Anit Thapa is being cornered by the Opposition on multiple fronts.
Bijay Kumar Rai, central committee leader of the BGPM, sounded confident about the turnout. “The mega rally is expected to see a good turnout from across the GTA area. It might cause inconvenience for travellers. While we apologise for the inconvenience we request all to plan accordingly,” said Rai.
The party has coined a new slogan — My Land, My Right — for the rally, which many believe is an attempt to turn the tables on the Opposition.
The BGPM was supporting the distribution of homestead pattas for up to 5 decimals to tea garden residents when the state government notification was issued on August 1.
However, with the Opposition primarily demanding that tea garden residents be given land rights over the entire land they possessed, Thapa changed his stand when he saw a large section of hill people was backing the Opposition.
Thapa, also the chief executive of the GTA, requested district magistrates not to conduct a land survey and wrote to the state chief secretary requesting land rights over the entire area possessed by a tea resident.
The state government decided to halt all work related to the distribution of tea land in the GTA area.
“Thapa has managed to contain the situation for the moment. The Opposition has lost some steam... but is asking people to boycott Sunday’s meeting,” said an observer.
Thapa said it was vital for tea garden people to attend the meeting.
“At times, we need to show our strength and unity before the government,” said Thapa.
Land issue apart, the Opposition is raising questions about the teachers’ eligibility test (TET) held on February 14, 2021, when the GTA was headed by Thapa. In an answer to an RTI query, a state government replied that the GTA was not a competent authority to conduct TET. The GTA has not published the results.