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30 Dec 2016

GTA Sabha elects new chairman - Govt lingered on selection, says Giri

New GTA Sabha chairman Lopsang Yolmo.
Picture by Mohan Lama
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Dec. 29: Members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha today elected a new chairman and vice-chairman even though the state government had not officially accepted the removal of the previous chairman Bhupendra Pradhan.
After Pradhan had left the Gorkha Jannmukti Morcha and joined Trinamul, the GTA Sabha called a meeting and removed him as the chairman on August 26. 
Roshan Giri, an executive Sabha member of the GTA said: "For one reason or the other, the state government is lingering with the process of electing the new chairman. At one point, the government said signatures of 31 members who had voted to oust Pradip Pradhan (Bhupendra is more commonly known as Pradip) were not clear. We have reminded the state government twice but there is no clarification from its end."
Section 37 (3)(c) of the GTA Act states: The chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha - may be removed from office by a resolution carried by a majority of the total number of elected members at a special meeting of the GTA Sabha called for this purpose upon a requisition made in writing by not less than one-third of such members.
Giri said: "The GTA Sabha has removed Pradip Pradhan and because of lack of clarity from the state government, the principal secretary of the GTA has not called any meeting to elect a new chairman. The meeting should have been called by the principal secretary within one month of the GTA Sabha adopting the resolution but even after four months, nothing has been done."
With the principal secretary not calling the meeting, the incumbent vice-chairman of the GTA Sabha today called the special meeting.
"During the meeting, Lopsang Yolmo was made the new chairman of the GTA Sabha, while Rabindra Lama has been declared the vice-chairman," said Giri.
A senior government official said that they would first look into the process of removing the chairman of the GTA sabha before taking a call on the issue. "If they have followed all procedures to remove the chairman, the state has nothing to do... If procedures were not followed, the state government can intervene," said the officer.
Meanwhile, Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president, today said in Darjeeling that the party was not thinking about Gorkhaland as it is not in BJP's election manifesto.
Giri said the Morcha would complain to the BJP central leadership against Ghosh.

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