GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DELINEATION: Territory talk for plains cadres – Morcha reveals panel plan – Bengal can speculate as much as it wants, but to currently get and sign ‘DGHC afresh’ on Bengal & Centre promises alone (tried that in 1989) – sans partial territory now – is political suicide, no matter how one looks at it ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY RAJEEV RAVIDAS AND VIVEK CHHETRI
Nov. 4: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, in an effort to keep its flock together, today claimed that it had received “positive indication” from the Centre that a joint committee would be formed to identify areas in the plains which could be brought under the interim authority for the Darjeeling hills.
The committee will submit its report within six months of the new body being put in place. The party leadership also said the issue of “territorial jurisdiction” of the interim authority would find a mention in the memorandum of understanding on the interim set-up.
The Morcha is under tremendous pressure from its supporters in the Terai and the Dooars not to accept an interim set-up without the Gorkha-dominated areas of the plains.
Party spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri said the Morcha was not giving up on territory but would want it to be settled during the negotiations for the “final solution”, which is a separate state comprising the hills and the Dooars and the Terai.
“This is only an interim arrangement for two years. However, territory will find a mention in the memorandum of understanding for the interim administration. A joint (verification) committee will study the (Gorkha-dominated) areas in the Dooars and Terai and submit its report by May 2011. And before the final solution (read a separate state) is arrived at, the issue would be resolved,” said Chhetri.
Morcha president Gurung had yesterday said the next round of political-level talks would take place either in the last week of November or early December. The Morcha had earlier said it would not accept the interim set-up if the territory issue was not resolved. The party’s revelation today that the report would be submitted within six months of signing the deal looks like an attempt to ensure there is no backlash from the Gorkhas in the plains. (Oh, but there will be, just like Bengal wants ?!!)
“They have dangled a six-month carrot and wanted to pacify their supporters by maintaining that the territory has been mentioned in the pact and that the Dooars and the Terai have not been left out like in the DGHC Accord signed by Subash Ghisingh,” said an observer.
Even though the six-month deadline that the Morcha has been talking about might be able to avert immediate discontentment among the party rank and file, observers believe it would be difficult for the committee to complete work within the timeframe.
“The Assembly elections are scheduled around April-May and when the entire machinery is in an election mode, it would be difficult to complete the survey and the report on time,” said an observer. (and the Bengal and Centre excuses will come in thick and fast, while intelligence reports already have the survey chalked out – like: last year’s national consensus reports ?!!)
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said other unresolved issues that would be hammered out at the next round of political-level talks included composition of the body that would run the interim administration and whether its members would be elected or not. The legislative powers of the interim administration and the management of tea gardens will also be discussed.
“We had a fruitful discussion with Union home minister P. Chidambaram. The Centre is keen on addressing the problem of the Gorkhas,” he said in Kalimpong after a party central committee meeting that was also attended by Gurung.
Giri said the sole purpose of holding the meeting was to brief the central committee members on the recent talks in Delhi.
Although Gurung chose not to interact with the media, his body language suggested he was in a good frame of mind. In fact, he distributed sweets and money as Diwali gifts to his party cadres.
Giri said the party would organise a series of meetings in Darjeeling to update its supporters on the on-going negotiations for the interim set-up.
Members of different community-based associations in the hills will be briefed at Darjeeling Gymkhana on November 10, while members of the party’s affiliate organisations will be addressed on November 12. “We want to take everyone on board. We will be transparent. Out party does not believe in hiding from the people or cheating them,” he added.
EARLIER IN DELHI
Hon’ble Darjeeling MP, Stalwart Jaswant Singh hands over an ambulance for Darjeeling – now the need for specialist hospitals in Darjeeling ?!!
From the GJM Media Cell
Delhi, November 2: A well equipped modern Ambulance for Darjeeling hills has been handed over to Bimal Gurung, GJM president by Jaswant Singh, BJP Darjeeling MP in New Delhi, during the recent visit of the GJM delegation to meet Home minister and other central leaders.