GJM digs in for long Gorkhaland stir

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DARJEELING: GorkhaJanmuktiMorcha's U-turn on the Gorkha Territorial Administration is part of a "well knit strategy" to stay on in the autonomous Hills body and turn it hollow from inside, said a senior Morcha leader on Tuesday.

The Morcha has already started a social boycott of government officials by pressuring cooks, domestic helps and personal assistants to quit the employment of government officials.The GNLF had done the same thing two decades ago. The two-pronged strategy of turning GTA redundant and non-cooperating with government officials and offices will create a situation where the administration will vanish and Morcha will call the shots in the Hills.

A senior GJM leader told TOI on Tuesday they would help the government select the new chief executive officer of GTA. This is a drastic change from their earlier hardline stance of staying away from GTA — in fact, Gurung sparked the latest agitation by resigning as GTA chief executive. So what is the Morcha's tacitc ?

A GJM central committee member said they planned to turn GTA defunct by selecting a "non-functional" and nominated GTA member as chairman. Two names were doing rounds - 84-year-old Virkhu Bhusan and Binay Tamang. The Morcha central committee opposed Tamang's name as he is a hardliner and one of the key advisers and organizers of the party. Bhusan was more acceptable and suited the Morcha's strategy of a long-term agitation, following in the footprints of the GNLF.

The Morcha still has to win over the other Hills parties, particularly Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League and CPRM, who gave their support for the Gorkhaland agitation at Monday's all-party meet on the condition that Morcha members quit all legislative posts. "We have told GJM that we are ready to join a unified forum for Gorkhaland but GJM has to resign from all GTA and MLA positions," said ABGL leader Laxman Pradhan.

The Morcha is divided on the issue. On Monday, after the meeting, GJM leader Harka Bahadur Chhetri said they were considering the ABGL-CPRM condition and would announce their decision on August 16. But on Tuesday, top Morcha sources said that resignation from GTA would be suicidal.

"If the party quits GTA, the state government will appoint an administrator and capture all the development projects that were undertaken by us," said a Morcha leader.

Sources say a large section of Morcha central committee members have turned hardliners and are in favour of resignation. But moderate leaders like Roshan Giri and Harka Bahadur have managed to convince GJM supremo Bimal Gurung that a face-off with the government will cause collateral damage and an alternative should be found out. The central committee finally decided on a "non violent" movement — a GNLF-style social boycott — to irritate the government.

It has already started. "My cook said he was being threatened by the Morcha to quit my service. He feared for his life. I know he cannot resist their diktat so I let him go," said an additional-district-magistrate-ranked official. The same thing was repeated by every official TOI spoke to.

The GJM non-cooperation movement aims to make all government agencies defunct, said a Morcha leader. "We will ask local people not to work in government offices and stop paying taxes," he said, adding they want to force Mamata Banerjee's hand. "The state government will impose stringent laws to break our non-violent movement, which will benefit the Morcha," said the leader.

Party sources said Bimal Gurung was in favour of peaceful movement but the growing ranks of hardliners are not willing to wait any longer. "Mamata Banerjee has gone for a personal enmity, which has made things adverse," said Harka Bahadur Chhetri.

From : timesofindia



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