GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Talks blow to Morcha rivals – ABGL sends protest letters to Union home minister & state govt – the politics of FIR’s not quite working, no other straws ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
July 18: The ABGL has written to the Union home minister and the Bengal government to protest the decision to convene the tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
For all Morcha rivals, including the ABGL, the announcement of the talks date has come as a betrayal when they were trying to make their presence felt in the hills — often held hostage to Morcha whims.
Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL, said: “It is immoral and unethical to hold talks with a party which has been accused of murdering our leader. The talks should not have been held when investigations are on and arrests are yet to be made.”
The ABGL’s letter is an indication that the Morcha rivals have been demoralised by the Centre’s decision to hold talks with the Morcha.
Bimal Gurung’s party was on the backfoot after the murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang. The Centre’s decision to hold talks has breathed a fresh lease of life into the Morcha and the shift of focus, from the killing to the tripartite talks, has only dampened the rivals’ hope of creating political space for themselves in the aftermath of the murder.
But the July 24 meeting between the Centre, state and the Morcha may not yield any concrete result as the government is still harping on an interim set-up as an alternative to the existing DGHC, while the Morcha has decided to discuss only Gorkhaland.
“The issue is not about how fruitful the talks would be but about how the meeting has given an impetus to the Morcha. It would definitely be very difficult for the rivals to divert the people’s attention from the talks now,” said an observer.
The rivals, despite being aware of their difficulties, are trying hard to be hopeful. “We expect nothing from the talks. The meeting has been called so that the government can blackmail Morcha into accepting something less than statehood,” said Govind Chhetri, a leader of the CPRM, the second largest party in the hills.
While urban development minister, the CPM’s Asok Bhattacharya, refused comment, party MP Saman Pathak said the talks should not be convened at this juncture when many of the Morcha leaders were named in the Tamang murder FIR.
“We do not think that tripartite talks with the Morcha leaders, many of whom have been named in the FIR, should be held at this time,” Pathak told a media conference at the district CPM office in Siliguri today. Asked whether the party would request the state government not to participate in the tripartite talks, the MP was silent.
Tea union – outcome of parleys awaited ?!!
Jaigaon/Siliguri, July 18: The Progressive Tea Workers’ Union today said any decision on attending a meeting to discuss the demand for a hike in wages hinged on the outcome of parleys it intended to hold with other trade unions. The meeting has been convened by the state labour department in Calcutta on July 22.
“The Co-ordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers and the Defence Committee for Plantation Workers’ Rights have been invited for a discussion in Siliguri on July 20,” said Sukra Munda, the president of the Progressive Union.
“If a consensus is reached on certain matters, our central committee will take a decision on participating in the July 22 meeting.”
West Bengal governor takes stock of north Bengal situation – all’s calm & quiet after ‘Tripartite Talks’ date announcement ?!!
From The Press Trust of India
Siliguri, Sunday, July 18, 2010 19:17 IST: West Bengal governor MK Narayanan took stock of the situation in the north Bengal districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar here today.
He had talks with all three district magistrates, the SPs and inspector general of police (north Bengal) Ranveer Kumar and asked them to maintain law and order, official sources said.
He met other officials and inquired about the development of north Bengal.
Narayanan, who is here on a day’s visit, is scheduled to inaugurate a pineapple development centre at Bidhannagar, about 20 km from here before leaving for Kolkata tomorrow, the sources added.
MEANWHILE FROM BELOW THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Cong MLA to join Trinamul – desertions acceptable to Congress ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, July 18: The MLA from Araidanga, Sabitri Mitra, today announced her decision to join the Trinamul Congress to protest the “family raj” in the Congress.
Mitra, a five-time MLA and a vice-president of the state Congress, said she would join Mamata Banerjee’s party on July 21 in Calcutta.
District Congress president Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury, who is apparently the target of Mitra’s barb, said he was not aware of the MLA’s move. “Sabitri is still an asset to the party. I will talk to her.”
Announcing her resignation as primary member, Mitra said: “It’s not possible to continue any more with the Congress, which has been reduced to a family raj. Those who were with Barkatda (former Union minister A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury), have not been getting the recognition due to them. No action is being taken against the corrupt.”
District Trinamul leader Babla Sarkar claimed Mitra was in touch with the state leadership in Calcutta before taking the decision. “A number of Congress workers and leaders will join Trinamul on that day,” he said.
Senior state Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya telephoned Mitra to ask her to reverse her decision. “I told him that the party in Malda has been ruined,” the MLA said.