The people of West Bengal must be wondering whether in choosing Mamata Banerjee over the Left, they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. If the state was looking towards a bright economic future, the prospect does not seem promising in the wake of her stand on FDI in the retail sector, for it is obvious that investors will now be even more wary of her. The reason is that she evidently does not have an economic vision in sync with the central role that the private sector is playing at a time of globalisation.
Dividing Uttar-Pradesh: The Opening Of A Pandora's Box
Uttar-Pradesh state assembly in its shortest ever session of eleven minutes only passed a resolution for carving out four states from Uttar-Pradesh. The resolution has now gone to the Central government for their perusal. However, we all know, that this is not going to happen that easily for which our political pundits are making noises and parties going for and against it.
Despite a heap of lab experiments, field studies and advanced technological insights, nothing much has been worked upon by Mother Earth’s wise men when it comes to the wrath of Nature, more so when it comes from the innermost belly of the planet. Despite the giant leaps in science, major earthquakes around the world have not only stunned and crippled mankind, but have also increased in frequency, defying an explanation or prediction. With the Sikkim flattener being the latest case in point, Deebashree Mohanty explores what really lies beneath
FROM GORKHALAND TO POLITICAL JIGSAW-PUZZLE VIA SIXTH SCHEDULE AND SET-UP
In the history of electoral battles fought in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars region since the first election of independent India, the All India Gorkha League (AIGL) is found to have won four seats to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly for one or two terms. After AIGL the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) being the strongest party of the region had won three seats only for West Bengal State Assembly from Darjeeling Hills for three consecutive terms since 1991. But in the fifteenth West Bengal Assembly Election held on 18April, 2011 in the region, the agitating party Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) had won three seats from Darjeeling hills and one seat from Dooars on being backed by it. Thus winning four Assembly Seats from the region that comprises the geographical areas of the proposed state of Gorkhaland for which the GJMM was on the path of movement since October, 2007, had registered a new record in the annals of Assembly elections for the region. The victory of AIGL and GNLF candidates in the bygone days was for the socio-economic issues on being propelled by strong Gorkha sentiment. But the record victory of four GJMM candidates was not for socio-economic upliftment rather it was the victory for a political cause which was nothing but the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland for which the GJMM categorically had asked and sought Mandate from the electorates. While electioneering during the period of campaign GJMM had also assured the aspirants of Gorkhaland that in no case the party will revert to the nearly agreed interim arrangement, set up or any mechanism short of Gorkhaland. The interim arrangement/set up was invented with politico-administrative and diplomatic subtlety in lieu of Gorkhaland by Left Front Government. The GJMM after carrying the movement for Gorkhaland for a couple of months, a section of leaders on the helm of affairs seemed to have got entangled into the web of the subtle move. And on being unable to get out of the politico-administrative morass, some of the responsible leaders were seen to be advocating the impossibility of achieving Gorkhaland without accepting and running proposed interim set up. Such advocacy had become like a crook CAT hiding under a basket where its tail had remained uncovered.
‘I think Gorkhaland is a very legitimate demand. If we are able to separate ourselves from the sentiment of it in every possible way and think from the perspective of national security, social harmony, economic benefit, administrative benefit, administrative convenience and all of that, we will find that it is a legitimate demand.’ – Jaswant Singh
Jaswant Singh has rightly spoken about Gorkhaland in his recent interview with the Statesman. If the Bengal government does not understand or does not want to understand, this will be lethal for the whole country. Singh has also reiterated the fact that Gorkhaland is a just demand considering crucial factors such as national security and social harmony. The people of Darjeeling and the Dooars have been fooled times and again. Had the leaders been more sincere about the gravity of Gorkhaland, it would not be a dream till now, it would have become a reality. The faction between the Gorkha leaders of Darjeeling has further exacerbated the situation. Reviewing the case of Gorkhaland over the years, one significant factor that has been obtruding the proposal for statehood is unity. The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha league (ABGL) and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) have divided the people into three separate streams. It is easy for the Bengal Government to coax and bribe the leaders as long as they are divided. They have been playing the same trick of ‘Divide and Rule Policy’ which had been inherited from the Britons. This fact has to be accepted and admitted by all the supposed leaders of Gorkhaland. The other truth that the leaders must be aware is that there will be more plots in future to have the Gorkhas divided. The Bengal government is looking for opportunities to tip Gorkha leaders whenever and wherever they can. This reality has to be understood by the people. The leaders must be aware that any more juggleries with the sentiments of the people will not be tolerated any more.
If anything reinforces the case for Gorkhaland and highlights how different the Nepalis of Darjeeling are from the Bengalis of Bengal -- it is the assembly elections of 2011. While all of Bengal is consumed by the clash between Mamata Banerjee and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, up here in the Darjeeling Hills it is largely ignored. Up here, all election talk centres around a rivalry between an old, wily Gorkha warhorse and his biggest bête noire, a muscleman turned Gandhian, who was once his trusted lieutenant. Up here, it's all about a mighty clash between Subhash Ghisingh and Bimal Gurung.
Yes, the khukuris are being brandished once again.
Yet, till just a week ago, this wasn't the case. Then Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), seemingly ruled the hills unchallenged. Riding a wave of discontent against Ghisingh in 2007, Gurung had outwitted his former boss by snatching power and forcing him out of the hills and into exile in Jalpaiguri. It was a masterstroke -- and it strangely involved a popular TV show called Indian Idol.