GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Set-up by Dec. 20 or back to statehood: Morcha – Locks and rallies till deadline – all due to Bengal’s obdurate, parochial and biased unwillingness to concede territory that they know they have no control over and willing to risk the ire of the realisation of the Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh where they stand to lose the entire North of Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Nov. 28: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today set a December 20 deadline for the state and the Centre to finalise the interim authority failing which it will launch an agitation starting with a 48-hour general strike from the next day.
The party also warned that this time the agitation would be for a “final solution” or statehood.
To keep the momentum going till the deadline, the Morcha, perhaps buoyed by the presence of thousands of supporters — the hill town looked shut from 11am to 4pm — at the Darjeeling Motor Stand today, has also decided to organise a series of rallies and public meetings from December 5.
The party also announced that it would shut down all government offices, except for the chambers of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police, from December 6.
Addressing the meeting at the Motor Stand, Morcha president Bimal Gurung said he had not forgotten the ultimate goal. “I am happy to see such a huge gathering and I want to assure our people that we have not forgotten our ultimate goal. We respect the leaders who are governing the country and the governments. This is why we are accepting their proposal for an interim set-up, but on our terms, for two years.”
In a clear move to put pressure on both the state and the Centre, Gurung said the hills would wait only till December 20. “We had not asked for the interim set-up, it was the government’s idea. If they can’t implement it by December 20, we will go in for a final solution (statehood). “The agitation for the final solution will start with a 48-hour general strike in the hills from December 21.”
Gurung’s threat is an indication that he wants the interim set-up at the earliest. “Perhaps he also wants to pressure the government to accept all his demands,” said an observer.
The rallies from December 5 will be held to demand the inclusion of the tauzi department in the interim set-up, one of the contentious issues that the Morcha and the government are yet to thrash out.
“Leaders must also submit memorandums to the district magistrate everyday to demand the inclusion of the tauzi department in the interim set-up,” said Gurung. “From December 6, all government offices except for the chambers of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police will remain closed.”
Taking potshots at “intellectuals” and the “opposition” parties, he said: “I had tried to seek help from everybody when I first floated the party. They all promised to help but did nothing at the end except for opposing us. I had even offered to make R.B. Rai, (of the CPRM) the Morcha general secretary but he had rejected the offer,” said Gurung.
Among the “intellectuals”, Sikkim University vice-chancellor Mahindra P. Lama, a native of Darjeeling, was in the line of fire. “I had wanted M.P. Lama to play an active role in the party but he said he was in service. He occupies an important chair in Sikkim. But has he done anything for the people of Darjeeling?” But even then “M.P. Lama might be the person whom we would want in the interim-set-up,” said Gurung.
R.B. Rai admitted that Gurung had offered him the general secretary’s post. “It was not a formal offer but there were such a talk. I being a Communist leader have my own ideologies. It was impossible for me to join them.”
The Morcha president said he would once again try and hold an all-party meeting to convince “opposition” outfits the benefits of the interim set-up. He had made a similar offer to all the political parties earlier this month but it was rejected by the Democratic Front, an anti-Morcha conglomeration.
Later a panel discussion on the pros and cons of the interim authority was hosted by an apolitical organisation. The ABGL and the GNLF (C) along with the Morcha’s Roshan Giri had participated in the discussion. The CPRM had stayed away.
Darjeeling strike threat – another bleak tourist season but good for the Greater Gorkha Cause that the region has suffered so long for – the Centre too embroiled in its own problems to listen, till they get toppled too ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Nov. 28: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today set a December 20 deadline for the Centre and the state government to finalise the interim authority, failing which it threatened to start an agitation, including a two-day strike.
The party warned that the agitation would be for a “final solution”, alluding to a demand for statehood and not settling for an interim set-up.
Addressing a rally in Darjeeling, Morcha president Bimal Gurung said: “I want to assure our people that we have not forgotten our ultimate goal. We respect the leaders who are governing the country. This is why we are accepting their proposal for an interim set-up for a period of two years.”
The Morcha chief said his party would “wait till December 20”. He said the Morcha had not asked for the interim set-up. “It was the government’s idea. If they can’t implement the set-up by December 20, we will opt for a final solution (statehood).”
“The agitation for the final solution,” Gurung said, “will start with a 48-hour general strike in the hills from December 21.”
The Morcha also announced a series of rallies and public meetings from December 5 to keep up the pressure on the Centre and the state government. The party said it would shut down all government offices, except the chambers of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police, from December 6.
The rallies from December 5 will be held to demand the inclusion of the tauzi department, which keeps land records, in the interim set-up.
Gurung said at the rally that he would try and hold an all-party meeting to convince the rival outfits in the hills about the “merits” of the interim set-up.
“Finalize Interim Setup by 20 December or face a greater Movement:” Bimal Gurung – the “Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh”, where Bengal loses the entire North ?!!
FROM THE HIMALAYAN BEACON
BY BARUN ROY
*48 hours strike starting from 21st December, if Interim Setup is not finalized by 20th December
*All Government Offices to remain closed from 6th of December
*Rallies, processions by all the frontal organisations and zonal committees of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha starting from 4th of December.
* Memorandum on the inclusion of Tauzi Department in the Interim Council to be submitted to the DM and the SDOs.
Darjeeling, 28 November 2010: “Finalize the Interim Setup by the 20th of December or face a greater Gorkhaland Movement.” Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Bimal Gurung today issued an ultimatum to the Union Government.
Speaking at the ‘Maha Rally’ organised by the party at the Motor Stand in Darjeeling, the GJM President also laid down the agitational programme of the party for the month of December. He said, “Starting from the 4th of December, the DGHC Employees Union will organize a mass rally in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. The rallies will submit Memorandum to the respective DM and SDOs seeking the inclusion of the Tauzi Department in the Interim Setup.
Similar rallies and submission of the memorandum will thence be undertaken everyday by the various other frontal organisations and zonal committees of the party.” Gurung further said, “From the 6th of December all Government Offices in Darjeeling Hills will remain closed except for the personal chambers of the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police.”
He added, “If the Union Government does not finalize the Interim Setup by the 20th of December, 48 hours of General Strike will be initiated from the 21st of December. I also request the public to prepare themselves for a long and a rigorous movement if the Interim Setup is not finalized by the 20th December. If indeed the Interim Setup is not finalized by the 20th of December, our party will not negotiate with the Union Government any further and strive towards the permanent solution to our problems and that is the formation of the separate state of Gorkhaland.”
Reacting to the opposition leaders’ reaction to the Interim Setup Gurung said, “We have often been said to be working without taking other parties into confidence. There have even been people who have nothing to do with politics speaking against us.
However, in order to put to rest the opposition’s attack on us, I would like to make known to the public that within days of the formation of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, I had personally requested Dr. Mahendra P. Lama to take up the Presidentship of the party. I had told him that as an intellectual he had the ability and responsibility to chart the future of Gorkhas in Darjeeling Hills and beyond.
However, he told me that since he was an ‘Employed individual’ he could not accept my offer. He had also told me then that he would support me from the outside. Similarly, I had asked R. B. Rai the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM) to take up the position of the General Secretary of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
He had refused. Now how is it that these very people tell us that we have not taken them in confidence. Truly, if they feel that GJM is faltering and is at fault they could have been in a far greater position to champion the cause of the Gorkhas and Gorkhaland then they do at present, if they had decided to play a proactive part in the movement and resolved to remain at the helm of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Why did they refuse then? And why do they now cry foul?
I think people should realize that these leaders are simply trying to make fuss about the Interim Setup while not doing anything themselves about the problems facing the Gorkhas. What have the CRPM, Gorkha League and others done? Have they initiated any programme seeking to champion the cause of the Gorkhas? They are only arguing and condemning Gorkha Janmukti Morcha behind closed quarters and issuing press statements. Political Movements cannot be initiated nor sustained through closed door arguments and press statements. These parties will have to have presence at the grassroot level and work honestly, else they will be deemed to be merely acting on the behest of the West Bengal Government.”
Clarifying the party’s decision to accept the Interim Setup Gurung said, “We never proposed anything to the Union Home Ministry. It was the Union Home Ministry which proposed the Interim Setup and which we after a great deal of deliberation and gauzing the pros and cons of the same accepted it only to prove that we are able to take care of our own affairs, which the Union Govenrment also wants to ascertain after the debacle of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and the misgovernance on the hands of Subash Ghisingh.
We know that the people want the formation of the state of Gorkhaland to solve the identity issue of the Gorkhas in India and to usher in an era of development and self determination in Darjeeling Hills and Gorkha dominated Dooars Terai what better way then to prove that indeed we are serious about it and the through the Interim Setup we will prove to the Union Govenrment and the rest of the nation that we can turn this region into a model of development. Once the period of Interim Setup is over, the Union Govenrment will be forced to accept to our demand for the formation of the separate state of Gorkhaland.
The Interim Setup will have all the departments that a State Government has except the Home Department and the Judiciary. We will be able to setup our own Universities, Medical and Engineering Colleges, super speciality hospital, our own Public Service commission, our Secondary board of education, so on and so forth. No longer will the schools in the region have to go to Kolkata to request for recognition. We would also be able to appoint our own lecturers in our own Colleges and University.
This is an excellent oppurtinity for us to prove ourselves. However, I have told the Union Government that while we are ready to prove ourselves, they should not try to betray us. If they do then they will have to face a greater movement. And then we will not negotiate anything besides the formation of the separate state of Gorkhaland.”
The meeting was also addressed by Roshan Giri, the party’s General Secretary. Giri said, “The opposition parties have been raising the issue of elections to the Interim Council. We have been saying that there must be a nominated body at the helm of the Interim Setup. How can there be an election to the Interim Setup which will exist for only two years? The Election Commission of India conducts election for a period of 5 years. How can there be election where the elected representatives will have a term of fives years but the administrative setup they will be tied to exist for only two years?
This is really absurd. The opposition leaders are also saying that the GJM is afraid of election. Why should we be afraid of the election when we have the ability to win each and every seat? If the leaders of the opposition parties are against the formation of the Interim Setup why are they then so eager to contest the election? It only shows how eager they are to get in power despite their professed opposition to the interim setup.”
Reacting to the comments made by Dr. Mahendra P. Lama over the Interim Setup Giri said, “Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri had invited Dr.Mahendra P. Lama to participate in the table talk organised in Kalimpong. However, he did not turn up. He had earlier argued that the Interim Setup was a big mistake and that compared to it the Sixth Schedule was far better. If he was so sure about himself, then why did he not accept our invitation and debate with us over the issue of the Interim Setup?”
Dr. Hakra Bahadur Chhetri, the Press and Public Secretary of the party addressing the meeting said, “We had recently invited the leaders of the opposition parties to a public table talk to discuss on the issues of the Interim Setup. None of the leaders of the opposition parties were able to point one thing that was wrong about the interim setup. We told them that we have been trying to seek redressal to the identity issue of Gorkhas all over the nation and we know that that it can only be solved by the formation of the separate state of Gorkhaland within the framework of the Constitution.
However, we cannot at the same instance forget the various other aspirations of the people of Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai a majority of which include such things as development of the infrastructure, creation of jobs and establishment of Universities and Colleges so on and so forth. While we are progressing towards the attainment of the separate state of Gorkhaland we must also materially and physically prepare ourselves for the same. The opposition leaders seemed least concerned. All they could do was argue over the technicalities of the Interim Setup.”
The meeting was presided over by the Party Vice President Pradeep Pradhan and a number of Central Committee members including the leaders of the party’s frontal organizations. Asha Gurung, the President of the Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha and wife of the Party President also attended the meeting and addressed the people.
MEANWHILE DARJEELING TIMES REPORTS
Dr MP Lama may heads (*?!!) Setup: Bimal Gurung – true or false, it would be a brilliantly genius political development, where the GJM saves itself from corruption allegations while getting itself a brilliant and well respected administrator, but will Dr Lama take up such a delicate, heavy and farsighted responsibility – That, is the crore rupee question, yet to be seen and played out politically …which in most probably Professor Mahendra P Lama would not take the burden of due to foreseeable tussles within ?!!
-48 hours bandh on December 21
-Hill offices closed from December 6 except DM and SP
-Rallies for Tauzi Dept.
FROM DARJEELING TIMES
BY DT REPORTER
Darjeeling, November 28, 2010: This may be the last public meeting for the Interim Setup said Bimal Gurung in the beginning of the public meeting held in Darjeeling today.
Though we have not forgotten the primary issue (or objective ?!!), that is the Gorkhaland, however, Setup is the idea of Central government for the hills and we are taking it as a challenge. He also reminded that what GJMM has achieved during the course of 38 months of agitation, no political party in the history of Darjeeling have achieved.
Meanwhile, Bimal Gurung specifically pointed towards the Dr. Mahendra P Lama, vice chancellor of Sikkim university, said, “Daju, we are respecting you and expect same from you. Today, I am telling this in front of ‘Mahakal Dara’ that in the beginning of agitation I had told you to be our president, I had even told you that I will support you tooth and nail. But you rejected my offer in the name of government responsibilities assigned upon you.
But I remember your assurance during the time that you would support GJM(M?!!) and always behind us. But the statement you have stated recently from the Kalimpong does not reflect your true commitments towards your home town,” said Bimal Gurung in today’s meeting. He also reminded that Dr. M P Lama has done nothing to our society, whereas he has at-least employed GLP and giving them Rs 1500/- per month. “GJMM will not run the setup as we have declared earlier, we need intellectuals, who knows Dr. M P Lama might be heading the Setup”, said Bimal Gurung.
“I had also offered the post of General Secretary to Daju R B Rai during one-to-one meeting, before Roshan Giri was selected. But he refused”, disclosed Bimal Gurung in a huge public meeting at Old Super Market today.
He also urged all the political parties to have discussion on Interim Setup. We have not closed the chapter of friendship as mentioned earlier by others parties, we will certainly explain about the Setup and the importance of Setup, in the seminar we will hold at Gymkhana and convince them or else we will quit the politics’, Gurung said.
Bimal Gurung demanded the formation of Interim setup within the December 20, otherwise, he will be compelled to launch fresh agitation for the permanent solution and declared following programs:
• If setup is failed to finalised by December 20, there will be 48 hours bandh in the hills from December 21 onwards.
• All the government offices will remain closed from December 6 onwards except office of District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police.
However, education, exams, medical and emergencies are not under the purview of bandh.
• Every day there will be Rallies, public meetings and submission of Memorandum to DM for Tauzi department by following frontal organization of GJMM on following dates:
December 4 = DHGC Employees
December 5 = Youth GJMM
December 6 = All employees
December 7 = Takhvar Samasties
December 8 = Lebong and adjoining areas
December9 = Takdha, namring
December 10 = Lapchu and peshak
December 12 = Nari Morcha
December 13 = Pulbazaar
December 14 = Rimbik and Lodhama
December 15 = Sukia pokhari
December 16 = Nagari farm and Pokhrebong
December 17 = JSTO, JPTO
December 18 = Rangbul Dodhre
December 19 = Nari Morcha, Yowa Morcha, Parent Body
December 20 = Ex-Army Morcha
MEANWHILE DARJEELING TIMES’ EARLIER REPORTED
Dr. Mahendra P.Lama’s Press statement on Gorkhaland, Kalimpong on 20 Nov 2010 – no full text of exact statement ?!!
By The Darjeeling Times’ Administrator
(Most probably by ‘Darjman’ or ‘Hillman the Analyst’ – who are one and the same person writing with a Congress long past generational mindset ?!!)
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 (01:35): While attending a meeting celebrating an occasion of the Press Club of Kalimpong on 20 Nov 2010, Dr. Mahendra P.Lama, Vice Chancellor, Sikkim University, delivered a sermon on various aspect of the much chanted ‘Gorkhaland’ dream unfulfilled for past generations.
Frankly speaking, this much vaulted expectation has beguiled the listeners ages since, unaware, however of the very source from which the aspiration originated as a mantra to conduct political agitations to bring the end in sight. It has a history of its own dating back to the days of yore, when the defeated Nepali soldiers of the Gorkha dynasty of kings allowed the beleaguered troops to join the British forces enbloc. The Nepali troops were inducted into the British army, by permission of Gorkha kings, conducive to the interest of the British as strength for the groups’ undisputed valor and loyalty.
The name of Gorkha, actually in reference to the kings of Nepal, stuck on connoting both bravery and simple stupidity, both of which qualities combined to become valor, the combative force ideal for battle: which the British had in store in abundance. The British garnered the marshal spirits of the countless number of backward but physically strong races of India, using the same forces in time to consolidate the Indian kingdoms and principalities in composing a unified British India, filling the ruling space left scattered by the late weak Mughal dynasty rule.
To cut a long story short, Dr. Lama’s deliberation on the topic of Gorkhaland seemed a repetitive version of his own scheme of events, retold in his own imaginary version, conceived out of the failure of the State undermining the interest of the hill people solely in terms of economic development, which happens to be his favorite topic for discussions related to all ills in society, whether justified or not.
In other words, his concept of Gorkhaland is an imaginary space void of economic development, filling which with proper economic programs would satiate the deficit. His conception for a demand for Gorkhaland is solely based on economic factors, than otherwise implying the more pure and true aspects of the constitutional guarantee provided by the fathers of the Constitution to safeguard and protect the interests of the “hill people” of Darjeeling in stark contrast to the influx of the more advanced and culturally forward moving counterparts from the plains land.
In order to safeguard the backward communities particularly the inhabitants of the hills of India commonly referred to as the Backward Tracts since and from 1870 to its final and permanent allocation under Govt. of India Act 1935 “Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas” and Order 1936. The indirect significance of this Act and Order implied the areas, numbering 36 in its entirety, were outside the realm of British India (15 Provinces and 562 Princely States). After independence in 1947 and thereafter after the formulation of the Constitution of India, these Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas remained to be outside the Union of India and therefore provisions for their incorporation was meticulously incorporated in the Constitution under provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Schedules. These two exists would conduct these Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas to be formally integrated into the Union of India as member states.
This facet of the Fifth and Sixth Schedule is intentionally incorporated in this script to allow Dr. Lama to undertake further research in deliberating on the constitutional directed route, provided for Darjeeling “hill people”, which identity is already taken for granted and proper measure conducted to safeguard the same while considering and in contrast to the diverse racial history of India unified into a federated unitary whole. This is stated herein to bridge the gap which was awkwardly gaping in Dr.Lama’s citations in finding the proper benchmark to place the Gorkhaland demand more out of a constitutional guaranteed scheme of events, than merely planking the demand on issues related to economic development and other such jamborees under the colourful Gorkhaland umbrella, no matter how inappropriate, constitutionally speaking.
The point which is being addressed here is not to confound Dr. Lama,’s erudition, which is no doubt respected at all forums, but at the same time it is lamented here, his deliberation on the issue was vague and inefficiently ill defined, while searching for the proper roadmap for the constitution of a state for the “hill people” of Darjeeling District. That is if at all, Gorkhaland means as such, a state in the Union of India and none otherwise.
Certain questionnaires are posed hereunder to show the constitutional roadmap for the “hill people” of Darjeeling District underscored by the guarantees provided by the Constitution within the fold of the Fifth Schedule. Whether it is true or not, the various administrative setups detailed below were formed on basis of the Fifth Schedule?
1. President/Governor: Fifth Schedule (Tribes Advisory Council 1952-56)- consisting of 17 members including 12 Tribal MLAs under Tribal Welfare Ministry, West Bengal. Late Tenzing Wangdi appointed Deputy Minister.
NB: (Imp) In Appendix B (III): List of Educationally Backward Classes (other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes). It is of immense concern wherein in Item No.37 mentions: “Hill Tribes of the Himalayas and of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (other than those specified in Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes order”. This indicates a important factor that the 26 nos Hill Tribes of the Himalayas – Census 1931, out of which 18 were delisted in Census 1941, is indicated preserved in substance in this Appendix B (III). It is surmised, the relisting of the Limbu and Tamang tribes in 2002/3 is based on this account. From which it follows by implication the relisting of other delisted tribes in Census 1941 is similarly to be applied. The distinct possibility of other delisted tribes being relisted again is therefore to b pursued on the basis of this particular Appendix.
2. Late Siddarth Shankar Ray, CM, WB –established Darjeeling Hill Council (under WB Hill Secretariat in 1970’s).
3. Subhas Ghissing ( GNLF) – DGHC 1988 (West Bengal)
4. Subhas Ghissing (GNLF) – GHCD 2005 (Sixth Schedule), West Bengal (remark: attempted only)
5. Bimal Gurung ( GJMM) -Interim Setup 2010 ( 50 members nominated) West Bengal (attempt in process)
6. President /Governor–Union Territory2010 (Interim setup) consisting of maximum 20 members [15 elected & 5 nominated]. Symbolically Tribes Advisory Council of Fifth Schedule is co-graphed as Darjeeling Regional Authority.
NB: This seems a recast of No.1.back to its original Fifth Schedule provisions.
7. President/Parliament (SRC): State 2012 – under Fifth Schedule (Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Area) when the delisted tribes of Census 1931 are relisted again in 2010 to derive Scheduled Area from the President, and thereafter concluded with statehood.
All those who replay to the above questions on the affirmative will pass the examination on the subject of state formation as related in the Constitution of India.
(A report that totally deviates from what Dr Lama actually said, dispassionately and objectively, and sows the seeds of yet more confusion and doubt – a very Congress like ploy of the Dawa Norbula generation ?!!)
MEANWHILE MUCH EARLIER
Gurung keen on democratic image – provided Bengal is keen to level the playing field or remains obdurately parochial and biased – as Democracy is not a “one way street” ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BY VIVEK CHETTRI
Darjeeling, Nov. 19, 2010: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is ready to take part in the municipal elections once the interim authority is established in the hills, signaling that it did not want to be identified as a party opposed to democratic norms.
“Once the interim set-up is put in place, we have no problems if elections to the municipality are held within a week,” Morcha president Bimal Gurung recently told party workers in Kalimpong.
The attempt at image makeover comes more than a year after the Morcha refused to allow civic elections in the hills as part of its non-co-operation movement against the state government.
Since then — August 2009 — the four hill municipalities of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik are being administered by a board of government officials.
The Morcha’s change in stand is also because it does not want to be inflexible when the deal for the interim authority is about to be sealed.
However, the Morcha said it would oppose elections to the gram panchayats until the territorial jurisdiction of the set-up was finalised.
The party also wants the eight blocks of the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong to be made into 32 units for better administration.
On the gram panchayat elections, Gurung, said there was no question of rural polls. “We have to first settle (the jurisdiction of) our territory. We have also realised that the eight blocks are too big to be administered efficiently and we might have to create 32 blocks,” said Gurung. The panchayat elections in the hills were last held in 2001. The Morcha has linked territory to rural polls because most of the mouzas that it wants in the plains — 104 in the Terai and 196 in the Dooars — to be part of the set-up is in the panchayat areas.
The state government and the Centre had been suggesting elections to the local bodies, like municipalities and gram panchayats, so that members running the interim authority could be nominated from among the elected local body members. The idea is to have in the interim authority members who are, at least indirectly elected. The Morcha, on the other hand, wants all members of the interim body to be nominated.
“The government wants elections to the interim body, which we don’t want. This is our stand. Why should we elect members for a five-year term when the interim set-up is only for two years? Come out with a final solution (after the two-year period) and hold as many elections you would want,” said Gurung.
Observers say Gurung’s readiness to fight the municipality elections stems from the urge to prove his rivals wrong and uproot at least one sting out of their propaganda.
“The Democratic Front had recently met the governor in Darjeeling and demanded that democracy must be restored in the hills and elections be held to both the municipalities and the gram panchayats. The Morcha probably is trying to dilute the issue by showing that it wanted to contest the election,” said an observer.
Gurung also tried to liken the interim set-up with the interim government that was formed before the Independence.
“Before India achieved Independence, there had been an interim government,” he said to justify the set-up. The interim government of India, headed by Jawaharlal Nehru was formed on September 2, 1946, after the British decided to grant freedom to India. However, contrary to Gurung’s claim, there is no clear announcement of an administrative solution on the hills after the Gorkhaland Regional Authority’s tenure comes to an end on December 31, 2012.
Morcha fights teacher polls – simple action that will slowly erode Bengal’s already shattered moral authority ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Jalpaiguri, Nov. 28: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has fielded three candidates in the elections to the Jalpaiguri district primary school council, a CPM-dominated body alleged to have resorted to nepotism while recruiting teachers a few months ago.
The hill outfit had reached an understanding with the Progressive People’s Party, a breakaway faction of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, for fielding candidates in the tribal-dominated Dooars. “During the past three decades of the Left Front rule, the Nepali and Hindi-speaking people of the Dooars have been neglected as no new schools and colleges were established in the region,” said Samuel Gurung, the convener of the Morcha’s Terai-Dooars coordination committee.
Kiran Kalindi, the PPP president, said the Morcha fielded three candidates in Alipurduar and his party contested three seats in Malbazar.
The elections to the district primary school councils were held throughout the state today. A court case had held up the elections for six years. The polls were last held in 2004.
In Jalpaiguri, 31 candidates took part in elections to the nine seats, three each from Alipurduar, Malbazar and Sadar subdivisions. The voters comprised 6,277 government primary teachers. Counting will begin on December 2.
Jalpaiguri district Congress leader Prabir Bandyopadhyay said: “The CPM did what it wanted and appointed the chairperson from within the party in the previous board. However, when the nepotism was unearthed and the chairperson was removed in August, we decided to fight the polls.”
The district secretary of the CPM-dominated All Bengal Primary Teachers’ Association, Biren Sikdar, said the Opposition participation would not impact the elections much.
Ghisingh on hill status – actually in a position to talk and confuse the masses more or only respected by Bengal and their press corps ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Nov. 28: Subash Ghisingh today stoked up the Sixth Schedule status issue, saying it was the ultimate solution for Darjeeling. The GNLF chief also said he would visit the hills “shortly”.
Ghisingh, who had initiated the Gorkhaland movement in the 80s, is opposed to the interim set-up that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha now wants for the hills.
“There is no justification for an interim set-up or a dialogue in this regard as on December 6, 2005, I had signed an accord with the Centre for conferring the Sixth Schedule status on Darjeeling. If the status is granted, the hills will automatically get an autonomous set-up,” Ghisingh said here after a meeting. About 200 GNLF supporters from different parts of Kurseong subdivision attended the meet in a hall here.
Ghisingh, whose writ no longer runs in the hills, had paid a heavy price when he accepted a proposal to confer the Sixth Schedule status on the hills. The Centre, the state and Ghisingh’s GNLF had signed a memorandum of settlement, which could not be implemented because of opposition in the hills. The resultant vacuum had helped Morcha’s Bimal Gurung undermine Ghisingh’s authority and project himself as an alternative power.
When asked whether the Centre and the state had done wrong by inviting the Morcha for a dialogue, Ghisingh said: “It should not have been done.” The GNLF chief assured his supporters that the Sixth Schedule would protect the rights of different communities in the hills. “I had a plan to return to the hills during Dussehra but postponed it following a request from the administration. But I will go to Darjeeling shortly,” he said.