GORKHA POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Security tightened in Darjeeling town as GJM plans rally – Peace at all costs, under Bengal ?!!
(Photos cannot be posted today as BSNL still down – Bengal to be blamed consistently ?!!)
From The Press Trust Of India
Darjeeling, May 29, 2010: Security has been beefed up in Darjeeling with Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police personnel posted due to Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s (GJM) proposed rally to demonstrate its show of strength after the brutal killing of Gorkha leader Madan Tamang.
Adequate security measures have been made in the entire hill town to maintain law and order due to the GJM rally as police said they would take no chance.
Police was also posted in strength at North Point School ground, venue of the rally.
GJM president Bimal Gurung had earlier announced to gather five lakh people at tomorrow’s rally as most of the political parties, particularly CPI(M), claimed that Morcha’s support was diminishing after the angry protests following the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League chief on May 21.
Meanwhile, a condolence meeting was held here this afternoon, which was attended, among others by GNLF, CPRM, BJP and allies of 7-party democratic alliance formed by Tamang.
Tamang’s widow Bharati demanded arrest and exemplary punishment of her husband’s killers.
An all-faith prayer was also held at the meeting.
A gush of Gurung – The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader thrives on maximalism
From The Business Standard
By Aditi Phadnis
New Delhi May 29, 2010, 0:19 IST: If it had been anyone else, you could have said he was hamming it up.
But when it comes to Bimal Gurung, chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), it seems perfectly natural: Before making his way to the podium to give a speech, he takes off his shoes, kisses mother earth and climbs up the stage to deliver a fire-and-brimstone speech in Gorkhali, the very sound of which brings tears to the eyes of hundreds of thousands of Gorkhas living in various parts of India.
His friends confess that they are a bit frightened of him — they say his speeches are Hitler-like with a bit of George Bush thrown in. He is utterly self-possessed and apparently utterly ruthless as well.
The West Bengal police says it has found a GJM connection in the killing of Madan Tamang, leader of rival Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, in Darjeeling earlier this month. A contract killer, by the name of Kayla (a Gorkha from Sikkim involved in other killings as well) is supposed to be on the run. Tamang was a big critic of Gurung. And the stakes in Darjeeling are very, very high.
Everyone knows Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) supremo Subhash Ghisingh was evicted from power in 2007. It was Bimal Gurung who did this –— and he understood the meaning of the word mobilisation when he saw the Great Gorkha Unification behind Prashant Tamang.
Those who are not so familiar with the musical programme Indian Idol can be forgiven for asking “Prashant who?”. Tamang was a Gorkha policeman who featured in the third season of Indian Idol, a vote-based programme where people, through exorbitantly-priced text messages from their cell phones, vote for a singer. Quite understandably, community plays a big part in this. Prashant Tamang symbolised the coming together of all Indian Gorkhas and helped them discover their common identity. Indian Gorkhas are distinct from Nepalese Gorkhas, and are scattered all over the country, notably in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, north Bengal, Sikkim, Dooars and North East, and like Israelis once, are in search of a homeland. Perception, differences and government policy have simultaneously blurred and accentuated the identity crisis.
Gurung used this mobilisation against the West Bengal government as well as the central government to further integrate the Gorkha opinion and revive the demand for Gorkhaland. Other organisations like the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh under former MP Dil Kumari Bhandari of Sikkim and Dehradun-based Gorkha Democratic Front, despite the physical separation of organisations, strive for a national identity. Indian Gorkhas united to showcase Prashant Tamang as an Indian idol and secured a Gorkha victory.
The largest concentration of Indian Gorkhas is in north Bengal in the hill district of Darjeeling comprising subdivisions of Kurseong, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and parts of Dooars. It has a Gorkha population of nearly 22 lakh compared to six lakh in Sikkim, which became a state in 1975 following Indian annexation. The region is of great strategic value. It is contiguous — or nearly contiguous — to Nepal, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The vulnerable Chicken’s Neck and Siliguri Corridor and the National Highway 31A to Sikkim along with the only road and rail links to the North East along the Tiger and Sevok bridges lie in this area.
The demand for Gorkhasthan was made much before independence and even accepted by the undivided Communist Party of India. Although Ghisingh started the Gorkhaland movement in the late 1980s, he left behind a legacy riddled with corruption and tarnished with the charge of sleeping with the enemy — West Bengal. Ghisingh secured the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 1988 and by 2006, its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule, incorporating the status of a tribal area. The struggle for statehood got lost in the politics of survival till a new leader, a Ghisingh protege, Bimal Gurung was born.
Gurung thrives on maximalism.“Ghisingh betrayed the Gorkhaland cause by accepting the Sixth Schedule, an option we have rejected outright. There can be no alternative to statehood,” he said in an interview. The organisation adopted Jaswant Singh and stuck by him when his own party deserted him. Bulk of Singh’s Lok Sabha speeches are about the injustice done to the Gorkha people.
Madan Tamang, till he was alive, showed there were Gorkhas who didn’t agree with Gurung’s politics, and that he has no time for them. His wife Asha heads the GJM’s women wing. As is the case with family politics elsewhere, here too, it is bound to have its critics.
Right now, however, the priority is the performance of the GJM in north Bengal in the forthcoming West Bengal assembly elections. An independent backed by the GJM, Wilson Champamari won the Kalichini by-election last year in the Jalpaiguri district of north Bengal. This was a shock for the Left Front, but it also illustrated the trend.
Bimal Gurung and the GJM are here to stay. The Left Front’s neglect of north Bengal is the subject of another essay. But watch out for the khukuris (knives).
Jaswant Singh may return to BJP soon – arrives in Darjeeling
Earlier From The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: Nine months after he was expelled from BJP for publishing a book lavishing praise on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, former Union minister Jaswant Singh is set to return to the party.
Mr Jaswant Singh, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Darjeeling in the general election held last year, has since his ouster from BJP been in political hibernation.
All that may end soon, thanks to the efforts of former deputy prime minister L K Advani, who has been egging on his party colleagues to re-embrace the former Union minister.
A formal announcement about the decision to reinduct Mr Jaswant Singh is, however, likely to be made only after BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s return from his European tour.
The ice between the veteran leaders was broken when Mr Advani invited his estranged colleague to accompany him to Jaipur last week to attend former vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s cremation.
“I think it was very courteous of Advaniji to invite me to join him and some of his other colleagues who were going to Jaipur for Bhairon Singhji’s cremation. I was very touched that Advaniji asked me to go with him,” Mr Jaswant Singh told a news channel on Friday.
“I find that this is a commodity that is essential between colleagues who have worked together. Why should all of it automatically be attempted to be poured into a jar of political convenience,” he asked.
When asked whether he was returning to the BJP, the Darjeeling MP replied. “I’m not affirming. Did I?” On being asked whether he felt he still belonged to BJP, he said: “I spent 32 year there (BJP). How can I get it out of my blood stream?”
He, however, was unapologetic about his biography on Jinnah. “Oh no, absolutely not, certainly not. That (the book) is an expression of my views.”
It was the publication of the book “Jinnah: India Partition Independence” which had led to his ouster from BJP on August 19 last year. The party had simultaneously disassociated itself from Mr Jaswant Singh’s assessment of Jinnah, as also Sardar Patel, the country’s first home minister.
However, while Mr Advani may have succeeded in persuading his party colleagues to take back Mr Jaswant Singh, he had no such luck in his attempts to facilitate the return of another estranged colleague, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti.
The mercurial leader’s endeavour to snuggle herself back into the party fold — she quit the outfit she had earlier formed, the Bharatiya Janashakti Party to signal her readiness to return to the BJP — was resisted by all the senior leaders, as also by almost the entire Madhya Pradesh unit.
Reports of her possible return to BJP was opposed by almost all the top-ranking leaders in the state, who felt that she’ll make things difficult for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Mr Advani also appears to have upset the BJP’s Bihar unit, and its coalition arrangement with the JD(U), by trying to impress upon them the need to induct another former Union minister Mr Digvijay Singh into the party.
The Banka MP shares a very hostile relationship with chief minister Nitish Kumar, and was one of the co-sponsors of the Kisan Mahapanchayat — a platform of upper caste leaders opposed to the chief minister — held earlier this month in Patna.
Nitin Gadkari expected to arrive in Gangtok, Sikkim TODAY – 30th May 2010 – from SHEEM news service
Having spent much of his energy in trying to put together a government in Jharkhand, the BJP chief, Nitin Gadkari, has left for Germany to study latest developments in renewable energy. Gadkari is already a pioneer in the production of biofuel.
His business trip will take him to Güssing, which has the European Centre for Renewable Energy. The mayor of Güssing is supposed to receive Gadkari and make him a presentation. Gadkari may visit other places as well. So expect a recharged BJP chief back home.