Firming its stand further to achieve a separate state of Gorkhaland, all 44 representatives of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), including party leader Bimal Gurung and General-Secretary Roshan Giri, on Friday tendered their resignation from the semi-autonomous Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). Terming it as an essential move to “clear the hurdle to achieve Gorkhaland”, Giri told Business Standard, “By tendering our resignation, we have sent out a message that we have no hope to remain under any semi-autonomous body and want to achieve full-fledged statehood within Indian boundaries”. The GJM has 44 representatives, while the state’s ruling party — Trinamool Congress (TMC) — has one representative in the GTA. This body, which came into being in late 2011, replaced the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
GJM, with an unquestionable majority in the GTA, has been ruling this body since 2012 and elections were due this year.After Gurung — then a Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) member — rose to prominence in 2007 dissenting with GNLF Chairman Subhash Ghising over achieving a full statehood, he signed an accord with the Bengal government. This led to the formation of the GTA, aimed at obtaining transfer of administrative, executive, and financial powers — but not legislative —from the centralised administration in Kolkata. “However, the state government has interfered in its functioning time and again, and never actually transferred the power,” Giri said, alleging that over the years, several departments and minority boards were created in the GTA but neither were any funds given for its smooth functioning, nor were any administrative powers transferred. The GTA has three hill subdivisions, Darjeeling, Kurseong, and Mirik, some areas of Siliguri sub-division of the Darjeeling district and the entire Kalimpong district under its authority. At an all-party meeting held in Darjeeling on June 20, the Jan Andolan Party and the GNLF had pushed for GJMs resignation from the GTA to prove its seriousness towards the cause of Gorkhaland. A total of 14 political and non-political parties attended the meeting. A GJM leader said the decision to resign from the GTA was taken at the meeting, which united all major Gorkha political parties to push their demand of a separate statehood. A decision has been taken to form an All India Coordination Committee for Gorkhaland, which will have representation from all political parties supporting the creation of the seperate Gorkha state. This committee will decide on the future course of the agitation and will meet the Indian President and the prime minister as well as other union ministers to press for the demand.