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Home / West-bengal / Bimal Gurung drops hints of aversion to GTA polls

Bimal Gurung drops hints of aversion to GTA polls

After a meeting with Mamata Banerjee a day earlier, the Morcha had given an impression that it would abide by her decision to hold the GTA elections soon
Bimal Gurung.
Bimal Gurung.
File picture

Vivek Chhetri   |   Darjeeling   |   Published 31.03.22, 02:54 AM

Bimal Gurung of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has threatened to sit on an indefinite hunger strike if the state government holds polls to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

“If the state government forcibly holds polls to the GTA, then I will sit on an indefinite hunger strike,” a source quoted Gurung as saying at a meeting with members of the Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha, the party’s women wing, in Darjeeling on Wednesday.

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After a meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee a day earlier, the Morcha had given an impression that it would abide by her decision to hold the GTA elections soon.

After meeting the chief minister in Darjeeling on Monday, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri had given strong indications that they were willing to abide by Mamata’s decision despite their demand of a “permanent political solution” before the GTA elections.

“We will hold a seminar on April 2 (on PPS) and submit our draft proposal (to the state government) on April 3,” said Giri, who added: “But the government is in the mood for GTA elections. We have made a request, but what will happen depends on Miss Mamata Banerjee.”

The Morcha is now talking of an administrative set-up under Article 244 of the Constitution which has provisions for the formation “of an autonomous state comprising certain tribal areas in Assam” with provision for creating local legislature or council of minister or both.

Some months ago, too, Gurung had talked about not contesting the GTA elections but had given the impression that it was he as a person who would not contest the election and that he was not talking about the party as a whole.

Gurung was not part of the Morcha delegation that met the chief minister.

In fact, Mamata Banerjee has not met Gurung publicly since the time the hill party decided to be an ally of the Trinamul Congress in October 2020.

Apart from the Morcha, the GNLF-BJP alliance is opposed to the GTA polls, while Anit Thapa’s Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) and Ajoy Edwards’s Hamro Party are not averse to the GTA polls. 

In the recent elections to Darjeeling municipality, the Hamro Party won the greatest number of seats, followed by the BGPM. Gurung’s party won only three of the 32 wards, while the GNLF-BJP alliance drew a blank.

In the last Assembly elections, the GNLF-BJP alliance had won the Darjeeling and Kurseong Assembly seats, while Ruden Lepcha Sada who is with the BGPM had won the Kalimpong seat.

Neeraj Zimba, the secretary-general of the GNLF and the BJP’s MLA from Darjeeling, said the party would explore all “democratic measures” to stall the GTA elections.

“We, too, have a mandate. People don’t want the GTA polls. If they support us, then we will explore multiple options which would include legal options, peaceful and democratic protests, hunger strikes, to protest the decision to hold the GTA elections,” said Zimba.

 



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