The countdown for a fresh agitation in the hills of Darjeeling in north West Bengal has begun with Bimal Gurung taking the first step, by withdrawing his Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as a party to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) pact.
On January 24, he informed that he will shortly write to the authorities concerned informing about his decision to withdraw from the GTA pact.
On Friday, Gurung informed the media persons that he has already sent letters to President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Union Home Secretary and the West Bengal Home Secretary conveying his decision on this count.
“In the communique, I have also demanded scrapping of the GTA, the pact for which was signed on July 18, 2011 with the Union government, the state government, and the GJM as the three signatories,” Gurung said. Although the pact was signed in July 2011, the GTA was formed in 2012.
However, the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) chief and the GTA chief executive, Anit Thapa claimed that Gurung’s step will not have an impact on the existing structure of the GTA.
“Nowhere in the pact has it been mentioned that just because the GJM was one of the three signatories in the past, the GTA will cease to exist after GJM withdraws from that. The existence of the GTA will not depend on the whims of the GJM,” Thapa said.
Meanwhile, a fresh political equation in the hills have evolved as the GJM, Hamro Party’s Ajay Edwards and estranged Trinamool Congress leader Binoy Tamang came closer to each other and started the process of beginning fresh agitations over the separate Gorkhaland state.
On Thursday, Trinamool hill district Vice President Pradeep Pradhan extended support towards GJM’s demand for separate Gorkhaland state. The new alliance has already said that the blueprints of the fresh agitation will be announced on February 5.
Reacting to the development, senior Trinamool leader and mayor of Siliguri Municipal Corporation in Darjeeling, Gautam Deb said that this is yet another step to destabilise the peace in the hills and stall the development works undertaken there by the state government.
BJP legislator from Siliguri, Shankar Ghosh said that this is an extremely sensitive issue and any step on this count should be taken keeping in mind the sentiments of the people of the hills.