More Gorkhas don’t want Gorkhaland

One significant indication coming from the just concluded civic elections in the hills is that less and less people can now be enthused to vote for the GJM for achieving a separate Gorkhaland. Not only has Trinamool Congress wrested the Mirik municipality from the GJM, it has opened accounts in all the other three civic bodies as well.  The GJM’s alliance with the BJP, the ruling party at the Centre, did not improve its tally but in fact reduced it. For the first time the GJM leadership, especially Bimal Gurung, realized that the Gorkhas are having a second thought on whether their well-being and development depends only on creating a separate State for themselves or to be in West Bengal and march hand in hand with all other sections of the people of this State.
The acceleration of the tempo of development in the hills to which Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister devoted herself wholeheartedly and the separate Development Councils she has set up for the faster development of the small non-Gorkha communities in the Darjeeling hills (like the Lepchas and Bhutias who felt being dominated by the Gorkhas but were too afraid to express it openly) won here more support from the hills people this time. In fact, the GJM is already feeling the challenge to its leadership posed by the Trinamool Congress and its supremo.
The movement for a Kamtapur State in north Bengal has also lost steam progressively. Mamata has been able to convince the leaders of the Kamtapur movement that she has the good of the Koch-Rajbanshis in her heart. The BJP had hoped to stir up sub-nationalist feelings in the neglected communities whether in Darjeeling or north Bengal but its efforts have not yielded much result. From the Santhals of the Jangal Mahal to the Gorkhas and other neglected sections of the people in Darjeeling to the Koch-Rajbanshis of North Bengal, she has been able to convince different sections of the people in the State that their prosperity does not lie in creating more and more separate States by dismembering West Bengal but in retaining the unity of the State and working together for the development and prosperity for all.
If this trend continues, the BJP and other divisive elements will find Trinamool Congress’ appeal unchallengeable and it will be West Bengal which will show the path to the rest of India how to implement the policy of sabka saath, sabka vikas.

Sunday, 21 May, 2017