Bimal Gurung, the chief of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) was sworn in as the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in Darjeeling in front of several leaders, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
With greater autonomy of the hills being an emotive issue, we may not have heard the last of Gorkhaland.
Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA), elections are due on 29July 2012, but the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has allready won 28 seats uncontested out of the 45 seats, thus gaining a majority. The elections to be held on 29 July have now become a mere formality. In a democratic set up if elections are uncontested than something definitely is wrong? As per reports coming, besides overall support for the GJM, fear also holds the key to a large number of withdrawls. Mr Subash Ghising who earlier ran the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) and because of whose inept handling the GJM was born has contested the formation of GTA in Kolkata High Court. Is this a sure case of exploiting political opportunity considering he took the decision so late? These elections legitimize the formation of GTA, which a large cross section of Gorkha society feels is another farce on the sensibility, hopes and aspiration of the Gorkhas who wish to see a Gorkhaland state.
Darjeeling Hill Council /DGHC/GTA substitution of Tribes Advisory Council (Fifth Schedule).
This is a consolidatory note to Bimal Gurung personally not to get over excited regarding the interpretation of the Justice Sen Committee report as the end all of its scheme of things which is obtaining a statehood eventually as the final target. The final report, though it only contains five additional Gorkha/Nepali speaking population areas, is based on Census 2001, which prioritizes the linguistic basis of electoral delimitation of populations. As the demand for Gorkhaland, presumably a new State for the Gorkhas, carved out of West Bengal, constitutionally speaking is impossibility, for the simple reason there is no provision in the Constitution for the creation of states on linguistic basis. The last experiment the politicians of India ventured this projection in Andhra Pradesh is now considered a failure in which the people of Telangana are demanding separation from the parent State on constitutional legality. The past mistake is about to be reinstated to its original state by creating a new State of Telangana, probably very shortly.
It was around 11 at night when I was stopped by two unassuming youth. I was strolling alongside my daughter, all of nine and half, and my wife and friends were walking only a few steps ahead. We had a satisfying dinner at the Darjeeling Planters' Club and were headed to our hotel. The hill town had pretty much fallen asleep by then and the Mall Road - which otherwise remained chock-a-bloc with tourists all through the day - was deserted. Having escaped from the Kolkata heat on a desperately needed break from work, I was almost beginning to enjoy the chill in the air when my conversation with my daughter was interrupted.
With competing political interests in Darjeeling hills, contiguous terrain and the Dooars each raising their own demands, the Bengal Government seems to have landed in a Catch-22 situation of sorts, according to North Bengal Trinamool Congress leaders.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has said they will never allow the new Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA) to function under the North Bengal Development Council (NBDC). Pressure groups like Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, which dominate politics in the neighbouring plains, have threatened to launch a fresh stir if a single mouja from the plains is ceded to the GTA.