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Gorkha parties unite over Gorkhaland, decide to pull out of GTA

The meeting saw 14 political parties and other social organisations coming together

Avishek Rakshit  |  Kolkata 

GJM supporters, Gorkhaland protest
GJM supporters hold a rally demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland in Siliguri on Tuesday. Photo: pti

Nearly all major Gorkha political parties on Tuesday united escalate their demand for Gorkhaland. They also decided to pull out of the (GTA) — a semi-autonomous body created in 2011, allowing limited local autonomy.
 
(GJM) central committee member P Arjun, who was the convenor of the meeting attended by 14 political parties and social organisation, said all parties who have elected representatives in the will resign. Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal, did not attend the meeting.
 
Major political parties supporting the Gorkhaland demand are GJM, Gorkha National Liberation Front, Rajya Nirman Morcha, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh and Jan Andolan Party. These parties will also not attend the all-party meeting convened in Siliguri on June 22 by the state government.
 
In Tuesday’s meeting, called by GJM which is spearheading the Gorkhaland movement, it was decided that an All-India Co-ordination Committee for Gorkhaland will be formed. All political parties supporting the creation of the separate Gorkha state would be a part of it.
 
This new committee will decide on the future course of the agitation and will meet the President and the prime minister as well as other Union ministers to press for the demand. “All major Gorkha political parties have now united. It has been decided that this committee will take the movement forward,” a GJM leader said.
 
On June 13, the GJM had also met other Gorkha parties. Since the 1980s when the spearheaded the call for a separate statehood, the Gorkhas had seen political breakaways and divisions. The 2005 accord signed between the Centre, the state and was done away with after Bimal Gurung (then a member) questioned it. This led to the creation of the GJM. Other breakaways followed thereafter.
 
The indefinite shutdown call by the GJM remained in force on Tuesday as well.
 
“We want the security forces to be withdrawn, after which calling off the bandh can be considered. If security forces remain, we will not call off the bandh,” said Amar Singh Rai, a member of the state Assembly from on a GJM ticket.
 
A report from PTI said Sikkim Democratic Front, the ruling party in Sikkim, had also expressed its solidarity with the Gorkhaland movement. On 29 March 2011, the Sikkim Assembly had passed a resolution in favour of Gorkhaland.
 
Sources said, the state government has submitted a five-page report to the Centre briefing it over the situation. The Centre had asked the state to submit a report before asking for more security forces to control the escalating tension in the Darjeeling-Kalimpong-Kurseong belt.
 
In case the Gorkha parties are able to obtain statehood for this region (Gorkhaland), the West Bengal government will have to part with 2.2 per cent of its total commerical tax collections. During 2015-16, of the total Rs 26,337.1 crore collected across all districts as commercial tax, contributed Rs 588.39 crore.
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in Hague to address the Public Service Day of the United Nations.

First Published: Wed, June 21 2017. 01:25 IST
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