New district weapon in my arsenal: Bimal Gurung
Even as Kalimpong was formally announced as the 21st district of West Bengal today by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung chose to indulge in rhetoric, asserting the new district was a weapon in his arsenal for the statehood demand.
Today, he held a meeting with the party's central committee leaders in Darjeeling and also interacted with cadres to apprise them of the current political scenario in the hills.
Ever since the chief minister announced her government's decision to create a Kalimpong district, the GJM leadership has been claiming they had raised the issue at the Writers' Building back in August 2011 where Banerjee was also present.
Addressing party workers at the Gorkha Ranga Mancha Bhawan, the GJM president said, “We should not always have negative thinking as political leaders. We must think deeply: why, how and by whom Kalimpong has been converted into a district. I am happy, the GJM party has to be happy. Now, Kalimpong district will be our weapon for our demand for a separate state”. He added,
“We must now demand for Kurseong sub-division to be upgraded into a district."
Political analysts here pointed out that with the municipality, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and panchayat elections slated soon, the chief minister had expedited her decision to declare Kalimpong as a district today instead of in April as had been the original decision.
In the last Assembly election, the GJM won the Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong constituencies, but the victory margin had halved from the previous polls. Gurung challenged Banerjee to announce elections to the municipalities of Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik. “I am okay. Let the chief minister announce the municipality election tomorrow. We (GJM) will win even in Kalimpong. It’s my challenge. In fact, I will camp in Kalimpong till the election is over,” he said.
On the mushrooming of community development boards, which the TMC is using to ride piggyback and making inroads in the hills, the GJM chief said other communities should also place their demands. “The more I shout at Banerjee, the more she gets angry and gives things to the hills to annoy me. One day she may even say take Gorkhaland. That’s why you (communities) must demand for development boards and reap the benefits as you are entitled to them. When the time is right I will demand to know what the identity and purpose of the GTA is,” Gurung said.
The GJM chief was also mindful of the BJP not fulfilling its role as a partner amid the prevailing political situation in the hills, and said that within four to five days, a nine-member team would go to Delhi to hold talks with the government. “As an alliance partner the BJP should do something. The MP (S.S.Ahluwalia) must facilitate talks on the statehood issue in parliament. Our delegation must try to meet the Prime Minister and remind him about his promise to the Gorkhas,” said Gurung. He said there was a possibility of a bill for the creation of a Vidharbha state being placed in the second budget session. “If the central government attempts to bring a bill for Vidharbha state in parliament, the hills will have to burn. As of now we are keeping a close watch,” he said.
Gurung also asked the central committee leaders and the GTA sabhasads and municipal commissioners to organise public meetings across the hills to reach out to the people and make them aware of the "evil" designs of the Bengal government. (EOIC)