GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: West Bengal Govt to hold talks with non-GJM parties today

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: West Bengal Govt to hold talks with non-GJM parties today – sans CPRM, the second largest party in the hills, so Bengal talking with political non-entities, no independents included ?!!

Dawa Sherpa - convener of the Democratic Front - leading the pack with curiosity, but no agenda ?!!

From The Hindu Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, Aug 3, 2010: In a bid to arrive at a consensus to resolve the political impasse in the Darjeeling hills, the West Bengal Government has invited leaders of non-Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) regional parties for talks here on (Tuesday).

The move to bring the non-GJM parties into the dialogue process is being considered politically significant as its comes two weeks ahead of the next round of tripartite talks involving the Centre, the State Government and the GJM leadership scheduled for August 17.

The parties that will be represented at the talks are constituents of the anti-GJM Democratic Front that has issued a call for restoration of democracy in the Darjeeling hills which, it alleges, has been undermined by the GJM.

R Moktan, DK Pradhan, Tribhuvan Rai - hoping against hope for greater importance but without mandate ?!! (Darpan)

A delegation that includes the convenor, Democratic Front, Dawa Sherpa will be attending the talks in which the State Health Minister Surya Kanta Mishra and the State’s Home Secretary Samar Ghosh are expected to represent the State Government.

One of the constituents of the Democratic Front, the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, (CPRM) will not be participating in protest against what it described as the State’s affirmation to the setting up of an interim council for the Darjeeling hills.

Subhash Ghising - with the monkey card ?!!

“Our foremost demand is the arrest of those who masterminded the murder of prominent political leader Madan Tamang in Darjeeling on May 21,” Mr Sherpa told The Hindu over telephone.

The relay hunger fast by volunteers of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), a major constituent of the Democratic Front, which has been demanding the arrests of those behind the killing, entered its eleventh day in Darjeeling.

The ABGL leadership has alleged that seven GJM leaders including its president and general secretary were involved in a conspiracy to murder Madan Tamang.

It has taken umbrage at the failure of the State Government to arrest any of the GJM leaders mentioned in the FIR.

6 Gorkha outfits to attend key meet with govt today – getting information totally wrong – on purpose ?!!

From Indian Express

By Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay – a pseudo journalist ?!!

Kolkata, Aug 03, 2010 at 0308 hrs IST: The proposed Gorkhaland Authority for Darjeeling (GAD) (*?!!, totally wrong, it should read as ‘Gorkha Interim Authority – GIA ?!!) that is going to replace Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) will have powers to enact laws on all subjects except law and order and judicial matters and it will be answerable to both the Governor and Assembly.

The authority will also have powers to impose taxes on wide-ranging subjects on which the DGHC had no powers. These are some of the salient features of the central government’s proposal for the interim council which the state government is going to place before the six political outfits, except Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), of Darjeeling whom the state government had invited for talks on Tuesday in Kolkata.

The six outfits are CPRM (wrong again ?!! – the CPRM is not attending), GNLF, GNLF (C), All India Gorkha League, Democratic Front and Gorkha Rashtriya Congress.

GNLF chairman Subhas Ghising, who has gone to Delhi to meet Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken, is likely to attend the Tuesday’s meet. (Totally wrong yet again – PIB from MHA totally trashed this speculation ?!!)

The state government will be represented by Minister for Urban Affairs Ashok

Bhattacharya and Minister for Health and Family Welfare Surya Kanta Mishra. Home Secretary Samar Ghosh will also be present in the meeting.

“The central government has given us a proposal on the contours of the council and we will place them before these outfits, requesting them to give us their opinion on this in a week’s time. It will be on the basis of their opinion that we will prepare our stand which we will place in the next official level talks in Delhi on August 17,” Ashok Bhattacharya told The Indian Express.

The move is aimed at putting pressure on the Centre to involve these groups in the talks to find a solution to the Darjeeling problem. “We have urged the Centre that it is not the GJM which should be called alone in the tripartite talks because they no longer have the mandate of the Darjeeling people,” Bhattacharya added.

The Gorkha League says it will first demand the arrest of those who are involved in the murder of their president Madan Tamang.

(A race and culture of some people with a political agenda totally immersed in lies – journalistic licence under question now ?!! doing its great race and India a great disservice and causing no embarrassment ?!!)

AND THE INDIAN EXPRESS EDITORIAL ADDS

Save the hills – from the Colonialist Bengal ?!!

From The Indian Express
Editorial

Posted: Tue, Aug 03 2010, 02:50 hrs

The Darjeeling hills have been cursed with a political culture of violence that has, since the ’80s, denied the people the democratic life ordinarily taken for granted in most parts of this country.

Things have not been “normal” since the GNLF’s heyday. After a period of relative calm, during which the GNLF misgoverned and allegedly embezzled public funds, the Gorkhaland mantle was usurped by GNLF-dissenter Bimal Gurung’s GJM, which not only hijacked the statehood agenda but also the GNLF style of stifling other Gorkha voices, though minus matching gore.

Then, veteran Gorkha politician and All India Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang was brutally killed last May, and the GJM found itself accused of murder. In the eyes of the hills people, that was the moment the GJM’s legitimacy to represent them came under a cloud.

This run-up frames the tripartite talks scheduled in Kolkata today, to which, to his own surprise, Subhash Ghising has been invited along with all Darjeeling political outfits, except the GJM. Not only the AIGL but also Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had been opposed to the GJM’s inclusion. Ironically, while the GJM will not come to the talks, what practical end will be served without the largest Gorkha group is hard to guess.

The fate of the proposed interim set-up is uncertain. Irrespective of that, the imperative is to immediately restore order in the Darjeeling hills and rescue the people from lawlessness and political violence.

The state government is constitutionally bound to provide that security and normalcy, instead of always looking for the easiest political option — as it has, historically, in readily accepting whoever’s the loudest and most muscular in Darjeeling at the moment.

Meanwhile, all parties need to make an effort to work out the rudiments of a sensible solution from the talks, which too should become more frequent, since the lack of an interlocutor breeds dangerous discontent.

TO WHICH OUR RESPECTED TIMES OF INDIA ADDS

GJM seethes at being kept out – Oh really, now ?!! with all 3 major players – the CPRM, Congress & GJM staying out, proud moments for all Bengal conspirators ?!!

Bimal or Asok - seething with no mandate nor popular consensus ?!! (Himal News)

FROM THE TIMES OF INDIA
Remixed in italics for clarity

DARJEELING/KOLKATA, Aug 3, 2010, 01.05am IST, TNN: The state government has called a meeting of six political parties from the Hills other than the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to “hear them out” on problems in Darjeeling.

Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader Subash Ghisingh is expected to join the talks. (totally discredited by MHA Delhi ?!!) The other five are GNLF(C), Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM) (out now ?!!), Democratic Front (a coalition or a party ?!!) and Gorkha Rashtriya Congress (GRC).

They will meet urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday.

In Darjeeling, GJM chief Bimal Gurung said he could easily get the meeting “cancelled” but he would not do so. “I have already told the government that no issues already taken up by GJM should be discussed in the meeting,” said Gurung. “I can get the meeting canceled in one hour. It is taking place because the government has already taken our views,” he claimed.

The government has called Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the issue of an interim set-up, as proposed by the Centre, with non-GJM Hills parties. Home secretary Samar Ghosh said that the views of GJM was known and this exercise would help the government know the views of other political parties there.

The government is bent on convincing the Centre that there are voices in the Hills other than GJM, especially since the tripartite talks involve only the Morcha.

Bhattacharya, who is also the Siliguri MLA, had hinted at calling an all-party meeting prior to the next round of tripartite talks in Delhi on August 17. The state government is apparently receiving feedback on the emergence of organisations like the ABGL and Democratic Front as major stakeholders in the Hills, especially after the murder of ABGL president Madan Tamang on May 21. It saw the Morcha influence in the Hills going down.

ABGL leader Manoj Dewan, meanwhile, said that nothing less then a separate state would be acceptable. “Does the GJM have an issue? Sometimes they talk about an interim setup, and also a separate state of Gorkhaland. We have a fixed agenda of separate state and during the talks will also take up the issue of our leader’s murder and what transpired in the six rounds of talks with GJM and the government,” said Dewan.

MEANWHILE

MHA denies inviting GNLF Chairman for tripartite talks – Subhash Ghising still with the Gorkha monkey, Bengal’s culture ingrained so deep into his psyche ?!!

Subhash Ghising - the monkey wrench that flew back in his face ?!!

From One India

New Delhi, Aug 2 (ANI): The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday denied that Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) Chairman Subhas Ghising was sent a letter by Union Home Secretary to join the tripartite talks on the Gorkhaland issue to be held in New Delhi.

“This is totally incorrect. It is clarified that no such letter has been issued by the Union Home Secretary to anyone in GNLF nor any invitation extended to anyone for joining the talks,” said the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It was reported by a section of the media that Ghising will have talks with Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken and Union Home Secretary G K Pillai over the issue in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI)

AND IN CONFIRMATION

Ministry of Home Affairs – Press Release – shattering Ghising’s immature ruse ?!!

PIB Press release against GNLF misinformation - psychologically damned by the Gorkhas forever ?!!

Press Information Bureau
Clarification

Monday, August 02, 2010, 18:17 IST: A section of media has reported that the Union Home Secretary has sent a letter inviting the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) Chairman to join the tripartite talks on the Gorkhaland issue to be held in New Delhi.

This is totally incorrect.

It is clarified that no such letter has been issued by the Union Home Secretary to anyone in GNLF nor any invitation extended to anyone for joining the talks.

Gurung claims hold on Writers’ talks – From GNLF to Morcha: Kalimpong MLA switches sides – another classic Bengal misinformation spin- as no one said: “Do you think the meeting was called without consulting us?” a deliberate misquote, while no words on the GNLF MLA switch ?!!

Bimal Gurung hands over a Morcha flag to Kalimpong MLA Goulan Lepcha (centre) who joined the party on Monday. Earlier, Goulan Lepcha was with the GNLF - long time coming and a thoughtful pick ?!!(Suman Tamang)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Darjeeling, Aug. 2: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today claimed that the Centre and the state government had consulted him before calling the Democratic Front for the talks to be held at Writers’ Buildings tomorrow.

“Do you think the meeting was called without consulting us? If I want to, I can cancel the talks even an hour before it starts,” said Gurung here today while replying to a question on the government meeting with the six-party anti-Morcha alliance.

However, in Calcutta, urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, who is hosting the meeting along with his counterpart in the health department, Surjya Kanta Mishra, rubbished the claim. “Neither I nor anyone from the state government has spoken to Bimal Gurung about tomorrow’s meeting,” he said.

State home secretary Samar Ghosh, too, corroborated what Bhattacharya said. “No one from the state government has spoken to anyone from the Morcha on this,” Ghosh said.

Gurung also said he had no problems with the state sitting for talks with the front but insisted that the alliance should stick to “its own agenda”.

“The Democratic Front should talk about democracy. They should not ride piggyback on our work,” Gurung said. “They must prepare their own documents and their own map (in case they, too, demand statehood).”

Observers said by claiming that the state had consulted him before convening the meeting, Gurung was trying to negate any possible advantage the hill opposition might derive after sitting across the table with the state government in Calcutta tomorrow. They said the front could well claim credit for the interim set-up being mulled for the hills, for this is the first time that the state government has invited any hill opposition for talks on the Darjeeling issue.

Observers also believe that Gurung is probably trying to send out the message that he is still in absolute control of all developments concerning the Darjeeling hills. “The Morcha has obviously been embarrassed by this development,” an observer said. “The state government, which is participating in tripartite talks with the Morcha and with Delhi, is engaging the hill opposition in bilateral talks on the same issue.”

Dawa Sherpa, the convener of the front, who left with a 12-member delegation for Calcutta today, said: “If the Morcha had been consulted on tomorrow’s talks as Gurung claims, then it would have certainly called an all-party meeting. That would have ensured that all hill parties put up an united stand for the Morcha.”

However, the CPRM, the second largest party in the hills and another constituent of the Democratic Front, decided at the last moment not to attend the talks, casting a cloud over it.

“So far the state government was not bothered about the opposition parties in the hills and had held six rounds of talks with the Morcha,” said Taramani Rai, the spokesperson for the CPRM, after the party’s central committee meeting in Siliguri today.

“We believe that the Calcutta meeting is a conspiracy to get the opposition’s approval for a set-up that has already been finalised and agreed upon. The Bengal government just wants to ensure that there is no objection when the new interim set-up is put in place.”

The state government has already made it clear that the talks would revolve on the proposed interim authority for the hills. The Morcha rivals want to discuss the restoration of democracy in Darjeeling and the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang as well.

MEANWHILE

GNLF MLA from Kalimpong formally inducted into GJM – no worse blow for GNLF or Bengal ?!!

Gaulan Lepcha with the GJM flag - to always work for the Gorkha consensus ?!! (Darpan)

By our Himal News Special Correspondent

Darjeeling, 2 August 2010: In what came as yet another brilliantly surprising political move by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Supremo Bimal Gurung – Gaulan Lepcha, Member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly for the second term, was formally inducted into the GJM party today at the GJM party office at Singamari, Darjeeling.

This comes at a time when the Democratic Front alliance is set to meet the much hyped Bengal Urban Development Minister Asok Bhattacharya and Bengal Health Minister Surjya Kanta Mishra at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday, in what many political commentators see as a move to further embarrass the GJM party and water down their bargaining strength before the upcoming 7th Tripartite Talks due to be held on the 17th of August 2010 in New Delhi.

Gaulan Lepcha, MLA from the Kalimpong Constituency and Ex-Vice President of the Kalimpong Branch Committee of the GNLF, had resigned much earlier  from the GNLF (on 3rd March 2008), citing policy differences.

Gaulan Lepcha was formally handed the GJM party flag by Bimal Gurung, which he put to his head in a gesture of supplication, given a warm hug by Bimal Gurung and was showered by the traditional ‘khadda’ scarves by all present. On hand to witness the occasion and welcome MLA Gaulan Lepcha were GJM secretary Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, Asha Gurung, GLP Chief Ramesh Allay, other GJM central committee members and well wishers.

Addressing the media, Gurung stated that “after resigning from GNLF Lepcha never criticised us and instead chose to keep quiet at controversial times (like: the 21st of May 2010) and supported the ‘Greater Gorkha Cause’ directly as well as indirectly”. Gurung explained that they (the GJM) had decided to induct MLA Lepcha after careful scrutiny and consultations with all the central, district as well as zonal party members.

Explaining his choice of Mr Lepcha, GJM Chief Bimal Gurung said, “we have been consistently watching the discipline of Gaulan daju (elder brother) and whether or not he has maintained his dignity and has worked for or against the Gorkha cause.”

Gurung, citing the examples of other GNLF MLAs from Darjeeling and Kurseong, said, “anyone can come and join our party, but whether or not we will take them in will depend on their nature and discipline shown towards the ‘Greater Gorkha Cause’.” “We will not take in people who jump from one principle to another,” he said.

Thanking the GJM Chief and all the other members of the party from the Central to the Zonal levels, Gaulan Lepcha expressed gratitude at his acceptance into the GJM and at being accorded a warm welcome and in being considered a “soldier of Gorkhaland”. He said that during his tenure as MLA from Kalimpong, he had “always kept the interests of all the people of the area that he represented foremost in his mind.”

EARLIER: ON MARCH 4, 2008

Gaulan Lepcha Resigns, says “Ghising cheated everyone” – and maybe is still trying to cheat and lie his way round and around ?!!

Darjeeling MLA's protesting at Writer's Building in March 2008 - Gaulan Lepcha selected, Pranay Rai not - against the Greater Gorkha Cause ?!! (Himalayan Beacon)

From Himalayan Beacon
By Barun Roy

Darjeeling, March 4, 2008: The panic stricken Gorkha National  Liberation Front (GNLF) has steadily started to disintegrate. After the resignation of Darjeeling MLA, Pranai Rai, and Gorkha National Youth Front, Chief Kishore Gurung, the road has been laid for mass resignation and mass desertion.

The newest in the list of leaders deserting the Gorkha National Liberation Front is Gaulan Lepcha, Kalimpong Member of Legislative Assembly and the Vice President of the GNLF Kalimpong Branch.

“After 20 years of dedicated service in the Party, I resign and no longer want anything to do with the party. Subash Ghisingh as given wrong leadership to everyone. He has cheated everyone,” said the one time staunch support and subordinate of Subash Ghisingh.

“He knowingly committed huge blunders. He was the one to form the Gorkha National Liberation Front and now he is the one to destroy it,” Lepcha said referring to Subash Ghisingh.

“I have given the best 20 years of my life to the party and have never betrayed the ideologies of the party, but the way in which Subash Ghisingh handled the party and tried to single-handedly change the destiny of the people, the people have resented to it and disowned him as a leader. It is because of him that the Hills have almost near again been ravaged by hate.

Even while he (Ghisingh) had the people’s mandate and support he did nothing for the good of the people and the hills. While the Sixth Schedule Bill was endorsed at the Bengal State Legislature, Ghisingh could have taken the appropriate actions to fulfill the aspirations of the entire population but he did not do so. Hence, Subash Ghisingh is single-handedly guilty of everything that has happened in the hills. The people are against him and I can’t go against the people. Hence, I have resigned. I have not become a traitor to the people,” Lepcha said.

”Every time, Subash Ghisingh, took steps against the people, I was wounded. I was hurt but I believed that they were necessary for the greater good. However, now that I have realized that he was wrong and is wrong I have been forced to resign from the party.  People want Gorkhaland and I must work for Gorkhaland. Gorkhaland is the future of the entire population. We will now have to come together to fight for Gorkhaland,” Lepcha said.

MEANWHILE FROM THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING

Protest queue for potholed road – Drivers set up blockade against accidents – festering resentment adds to statehood call against Bengal ?!!

A queue of stranded vehicles after private bus drivers blocked the road at Falakata on Monday - darjeeling any better, or need SC permission ?!! (Anirban Chowdhury)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU

Aug. 2: The festering condition of roads in north Bengal has made blockades almost a daily feature with drivers of private buses sitting on NH31 once more today at Falakata.

Yesterday, the Falakata Nagarik Mancha held up traffic from 7am to 3pm and tomorrow the CPM’s youth wing, the DYFI, plans to block all national and state highways indefinitely on the same issue.

Today’s blockade from 7am to 5pm demanded the repair of the Falakata-Dhupguri state highway where buses have stopped plying from Thursday because of daily blockades.

With the onset of the monsoon and no repairs in sight, vast stretches of the 201km Siliguri-Jalpaiguri-Alipurduar-Cooch Behar route have become the bane of bus drivers and passengers as well. This stretch includes NH31, NH31C and NH31D.

Darjeeling's NH 55 - under who's jurisdiction ?!! (Darpan)

“The state PWD officials claim that the maintenance of national highways is the responsibility of the National Highways Authority of India, while NHAI officials remain silent, leading to the confusion. Every day, vehicles are meeting with either accidents or falling into the potholes and getting damaged,” said Pranab Mani, a member of the Siliguri Inter-district Minibus Owners’ Association.

Officials in the Jalpaiguri district administration said ever since the 201km stretch was planned to be made into a four-lane route, the state PWD has been claiming that the onus of repairs is with the NHAI, while the NHAI sources said the tender for the four-laning work was yet to be awarded to any company. The NHAI project director for the widening work, R.K. Chaudhry, posted in Siliguri, was not available for comment.

Bengal minister of state for public works Dasarath Tirkey did not answer when called on his cellphone.

Subrata Mukherjee, a school teacher who commutes between Siliguri and Dhupguri , said: “I can hardly reach the school on time because of regular hold-ups and it is surprising that no one is taking any step to solve the problem.”

The bad road has also hit the bus operators economically. Tapan Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Falakata Bus Owners’ Association, said about 50 buses plied daily between Falakata and Siliguri and Jalpaiguri. “About 90 per cent of them have stopped plying and the owners are facing tremendous financial problems.”

ALSO

Tea protests from Aug 11 – to further add to Bengal’s burdens ?!!

Siliguri, Aug. 2: Tea trade unions in north Bengal, except the one affiliated to a tribal outfit, will launch a movement in the gardens from August 11 to demand interim hike in workers’ wages.

A meeting of the Coordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers, an apex body of trade unions with Citu and Intuc as constituents, yesterday decided that the garden workers would demonstrate every afternoon for an hour, if their demand was not met by August 10. “If nothing positive occurs at the August 21 tripartite talks in Calcutta, the workers will demonstrate at the garden gates everyday,” said Chitta Dey, the CCTPW convener.

AND FINALLY THE STATESMAN EDITORIAL

Saving the Hills – Talks must strive for a consensus – April 2009 LS elections-(plebiscite) forgotten so soon and so easily ?!!

The Statesman Editorial

Aug 3, 2010: With attention focused on the talks scheduled in Delhi and Kolkata, Central and state representatives must be desperately hoping that the parties can be persuaded to agree to an interim arrangement in Darjeeling. But now, more than an administrative solution, there is the bigger concern about who represents people of the Hills.

For the last 25 years, Darjeeling has been dominated by self-styled rulers who have thrived on whipped up sentiments rather than the electoral process. Subash Ghisingh firmly resisted popular endorsement when he sensed that his stock was declining.

Then the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha found Bimal Gurung to match Ghisingh’s autocratic style. Now in the wake of Madan Tamang’s assassination, the morcha finds itself challenged by a formidable line-up of rivals. To that extent, it is open to debate whether the last tripartite talks in Delhi with the morcha embraced all shades of opinion. The Centre has sought to make amends by inviting Ghisingh for the next round on 17 August. This will not only leave the morcha fuming but will be questioned by non-morcha parties who shuttle between militancy and moderation and use the Gorkhaland card to keep passions alive.

The Left Front finds itself on the back foot after action has shifted to Delhi. But with the morcha’s proposal of an extended Gorkhaland to include tribal areas in the plains ~ rejected by adivasi outfits ~ it is turning out to be another Centre-state issue. The state has introduced a fresh complication by convening a meeting of non-morcha parties in Kolkata.

It helps Kolkata to let Delhi believe there is no consensus on who represents the Hills in the post-Ghisingh era. Gurung, like Ghisingh, prefers to rule by decree rather than elections but may no longer go unchallenged.

If the Chief Minister has reservations about tripartite talks without comprehensive representation and the ground situation being conducive, the Centre banks on Gurung to get the administrative process going, a proposal unlikely to get Ghising’s nod. It puts a question mark on the whole process. (now does it really ?!!)

The Centre and state appear to be pulling in opposite directions with the ominous prospect of the entire process being rejected by those who claim political space but find themselves excluded. If local elections are impractical at this stage, although why that should be so is anyone’s guess, the only alternative is to strive for a consensus.

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