Its monopoly under threat, GJM calls for Gorkhaland unity; Trinamool urges Ghising to support Bhutia.
After five years of forced “exile”, GNLF chief Subash Ghising returned to Darjeeling Wednesday, welcomed by the Trinamool Congress which is optimistic this would help end the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s monopoly of the hills.
Many see the surprise return as yet another sign of the hills heading for multi-party democracy. Before the GJM, it was Ghising’s GNLF that monopolised politics here. The polls this time were already looking different from previous ones with a number of strong contenders, all of whom are campaigning vigorously.
The GJM had prevented Ghising from staying in the hills for the last five years but for a brief interlude during the 2011 assembly polls when he camped there. GJM leaders say he has not come back of his own but been brought back by the Trinamool to dent the support base of the GJM.
Ghising made it clear he is seeking ro revive his political career. Received by around 400 GNLF workers at his home, he held a meeting with them and asserted himself. “I am the original Subash Ghising. And this time I will stay,” he said. “The Gorkha Territorial Authority is in its dying stages. We have to revive the Sixth Schedule demand and find the file that was lost.”
Delighted, Trinamool leaders have sent Ghising a proposal to support its candidate. “We want to build an anti-GJM group here and we need Ghising for that. We have requested him to support the Trinamool candidate. We are ready to ally with his party. Mamata di has always wanted the one-party hill politics to open up,” said Rajen Mukhiya, Trinamool district president.
Ashok Bhattacharya, former CPM minister, said, “It is as transparent as water that Ghising has been brought to the hills by the Trinamool. The TMC, which earlier criticised Ghising and said the CPM colluded with GNLF and destroyed Darjeeling, has now joined hands with the same Ghising. Ghising would not have stayed there if he had not been provided political shelter. But we welcome him as we want a democratic atmosphere.”
Ghising is yet to make it clear whether he will field a candidate of his own or support the Trinamool’s Bhaichung Bhutia. “We have not decided whom we will support,” said Ghising . In 2011, Ghising fielded candidates in three assembly constituencies and each finished second.
S S Ahluwalia, the BJP candidate, too reached Darjeeling Wednesday. “The demand for Gorkhaland is justified. We will look into it,” he said. He held a meeting with leaders of the GJM, which is supporting him.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung, meanwhile, posted on Facebook: “This year’s Lok Sabha election is now clearly divided between those who are supporting Gorkhaland and those who are against the demand. This election is not about local issues but about our long standing demand of Gorkhaland. The BJP is expected to come to power and they have already decided to support our cause. This is a golden opportunity as a government which is set to come in power is supporting our long cherished demand. I, want to appeal to all the Gorkhaland loving people to unite for the sake of Gorkhaland.”
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