DARJEELING: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) wants to test the waters before it plunges into the election mode, with party chief Bimal Gurung on Thursday saying that he would first visit the constituencies of Darjeeling Hills before taking a stand.
Over the past one week, the GJM president has been reluctant to announce the party’s decision regarding the 2014 Lok Sabha elections even though senior leaders are presently camped in Delhi meeting UPA and NDA leaders.
Gurung, though, hinted leanings towards the BJP saying, “MP Jaswant Singh from the start to end – till the Telangana bill was passed – always voiced support to the Gorkhaland demand. He had to face verbal tirade from the Trinamool legislators in the Parliament. We cannot deny that he has done a lot”. When asked to comment on Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s take that Gorkhaland would not be formed, the GJM president said, “It’s election time and political leaders will have a lot to say on these issues.”
On Thursday, after meeting supporters and the general public at the subdivisional party office in the town, Gurung told to media, “I am not thinking of the election or candidates right now. First, I will visit the constituencies that we could not go to during the agitation periods. People there may not be happy. I will go to these places to find what needs to be done. After that I will take a call.”
The GJM president also said that he would seek reports from leaders representing the constituencies. “I will call a meeting soon of leaders from various constituencies and seek a report of the ground work and field surveys. It is important to know the pulse of the people,” said Gurung.
Gurung meet on ST status
Darjeeling, Feb. 27: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung has decided to call a meeting on March 5 with representatives of the 10 hill communities that are
seeking Scheduled Tribe status following state’s decision to recommend to the Centre about the status.
Sources at Nabanna had said yesterday that a note would soon be put before the state cabinet to send a recommendation to the Centre to give ST status to the Rai,
Yakkha, Gurung, Bhujel, Newar, Jogi, Sunwar-Mukhia, Mangar, Khas and Thami communities in the hills.
However, a survey by the state has shown that most of the communities don’t fulfil the economic and social criteria to be accorded the ST tag.
At the Morcha’s subdivisional committee office in Darjeeling today, Gurung said: “The Morcha has always demanded that the 10 communities be given ST status. I have
already welcomed the government’s decision to recommend to the Centre the ST status for the 10 communities. We have invited the representative of the 10 communities to
a meeting in Darjeeling on March 5. Along with them, we will vigorously pursue the demand.”
Sources said that in the event of the Centre agreeing to grant ST status to the 10 communities, Gurung did not want the state government to get the credit.
“The ST demand is second in prominence after the cry for statehood in the hills. If the Centre gives the nod for the ST status by chance, the Trinamul Congress would
be the gainer. The Morcha doesn’t want Trinamul to steal the show and this explains Gurung’s immediate decision to convene a meeting with representatives of all 10 hill communities,” said a source.
Senior government officials said the decision to recommend the ST status for the 10 hill communities was a political move. The state was aware that most of the communities did not meet the criteria for getting the ST status, the official said.
“Even then, the Morcha does not want Trinamul to hog the limelight, especially when Lok Sabha elections are approaching,” said the observer.
Gurung today said he would soon start visiting all 45 GTA Sabha constituencies “to understand people’s needs better”.
He reiterated the Morcha’s stand that the party would not support Mahendra P. Lama, a former vice-chancellor of Sikkim Central University, who would contest from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat as an Independent.
The Morcha chief said he was “hurt” when P. Arjun, a study forum member, announced his support for Lama without informing him. Arjun has been suspended from the study forum.
Gurung said the Morcha would hold its public meeting at Sukna on March 9, instead of March 2.
GJM to feel public pulse before taking call on polls
Darjeeling, 27 Feb 2014: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha apparently wants to test the waters before plunging into election mode, with party chief Bimal Gurung today announcing his plan of first visiting various areas of the Darjeeling hills before taking a stand.
Over the past week, the GJM president appeared reluctant to announce the party’s decision on the 2014 Lok Sabha election even as senior leaders are meeting UPA and NDA leaders in Delhi.
After meeting supporters and the general public today at the GJM sub-divisional office in town, Gurung fielded queries from the media.
He said, “I am not even thinking of the election or candidate now. First, I will visit the areas we could not go to during the agitation days. Residents of those places may not be happy. So I will first go to such places to see what needs to be done and will take a call only then.”
The GJM president also said he will seek feedback from constituency leaders.
“I will soon call a meeting of constituency leaders and seek a report of the ground work and field surveys conducted. It is important to know the pulse of the people,” said Gurung.
Ever since the latest round of statehood agitation in August-September of last year, the GJM has had to contend with mass supporter defection and people have begun accusing the party of compromising with the “greater cause” in accepting the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
A series of public and indoor meetings are slated in March. On March 5, Gurung is scheduled to meet with representatives of various communities residing in the hills, the move coming in the wake of the state cabinet proposing to grant Scheduled Tribe status to 10 communities here.
On March 2, the GJM Darjeeling sub-divisional committee will hold a public meeting in town and this will be followed by another massive convention on March 9 at Sukna.
Gurung refused to be drawn into divulging the party’s plans for the forthcoming polls despite persistent prodding. However, he did reveal a soft corner for the BJP when he said, “Our MP Jaswant Singh has never relented from voicing support to our statehood demand and this has been ever since the tabling of the Telangana Bill till its passage. He has had to face many a verbal tirade from TMC legislators in Parliament. We cannot say he has done nothing.”
When asked to comment on Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s take on a Gorkhaland state not being formed, the GJM president quipped, “It is election time and political leaders will have a lot to say on a number of issues.”
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, who is heading a five-member delegation in the national capital, will try to meet Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in a couple of days, added Gurung.
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