GJM ups the ante, Mamata bats for dialogue

Kolkata/Kalimpong, Sep 16 (IANS) The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which has threatened to revive the separatist movement, yet again hit out at the West Bengal government on Wednesday for its ‘divide and rule’ policy, even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said doors for dialogue were open.

Charging the Trinamool Congers government of interfering in the affairs of the autonomous hill council — the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) — GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said he has raised the matter with the Centre.

The GJM has also announced its three legislators — Harka Bahadur Chettri, Rohit Sharma and Trilok Dewan, representing Kalimpong, Kurseong and Darjeeling respectively — will resign in protest against the Banerjee government’s “repeated violation” of the tripartite agreement between the GJM, and the central and state governments, under which the GTA was constituted.

The legislators will tender their resignation on September 18.

“The chief minister is endeavouring to destroy the GTA. Now she will have to think about the consequences. Our demand continues to be a separate state of Gorkhaland and that is also mentioned in the GTA agreement,” said Gurung, who is now in Delhi.

Gurung said that by setting up boards for various communities of the hills, the chief minister was indulging in politics of “divide and rule”.

“We have written to the central government about the state government’s divide and rule policy. This needs to be ended otherwise there will be a dispute.

“How long will the people tolerate? She (Banerjee) says she will turn Darjeeling into Switzerland but actually she is making all efforts to turn it into a dead-land,” said Gurung, who is also the GTA chairman.

Currently on a visit to the Darjeeling hills, Banerjee asserted that problems could be solved through dialogue.

“If you have any grievances, those can be solved through dialogue. I appeal to you all, the door for dialogue is open,” Banerjee said at an event in Kalimpong where she doled out funds to various boards constituted by her government for the development of indigenous communities like the Tamang, Sherpa and Bhutia.

Meanwhile, fissures seem to have appeared within the GJM, with legislator Harka Bahadur Chettri claiming that the decision for resignation of the legislators was taken without consultation.

“The decision of the resignation concerns us, but none of the MLAs were consulted. Whenever the party is in crisis, our views are sought, but this time it was not done,” said Chettri.

With Chettri publicly expressing his displeasure against the GJM, there was speculation about him quitting the party.

Chettri himself kept the speculation alive.

“When big decisions are taken without consultation, you are bound to feel insulted. It’s not about resigning as an MLA, I may even quit politics itself,” said Chettri.

Asked if he was planning to join the Trinamool, Chettri said: “So far I have not taken any decision but there are many possibilities. I can give a lot of surprises or may be not.”

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