EOI, DARJEELING, 28 Mar 2017 : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership has decided to highlight the purported highhandedness and non-cooperation of the state government as part of its strategy to win over voters ahead of the municipal elections tentatively slated in April.
The GJM’s strategy is interesting given that after the civic body polls, election to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is expected to follow. Also, the GJM, which initially chose to downplay the rise of the Trinamool Congress, is now beginning to perceive it as the main opposition in the hills.
A political analyst remarked, "It makes sense that the GJM will highlight what it feels will win over voters. The GJM has been continuously alleging interference of the Bengal government in the functioning of the GTA. Also there is the issue of forming development boards for the hill communities, which the GJM thinks is a ploy to divide the people to curb the statehood demand. And lastly, it must be remembered that the separate state demand is a sentimental issue and any party opposed to it, as is the TMC, will be considered betrayers by the people."
Sounding confident, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the party would emerge victorious in all the four hill municipalities in spite of the TMC managing to make inroads. “Our fight will be with the TMC. Having said that, we are confident of winning not only the municipal but other elections too,” he asserted.
Giri further criticised the state government saying instead of addressing burning issues like creating employment, establishing proper healthcare and education systems, it was only indulging in petty politics to woo voters by forming development boards.
“They are indulging in vote politics by constructing toilets and houses when there are greater issues that need attention. The GTA has been made redundant due to interference. People are seeing through the TMC run state government’s ploy and will not be misled. They (voters) understand that the TMC is against the statehood demand and will not vote for the party,” said the GJM general secretary.
On Tuesday, the GJM central committee and the study forum (the party’s think tank) held a meeting in Kalimpong apparently to chalk out strategies for the statehood movement but failed to come to any conclusive end. During the meeting, GJM president Bimal Gurung, who is presently camped in the new district, also appraised party leaders about his meeting with Prime Minister Narendar Modi on March 23 in New Delhi. The GJM is expected to make the meeting with the PM its poll plank.
Giri however, refused to divulge much. “We will have to sit for more meetings to decide on the course of action to be taken for our statehood movement. On Tuesday’s meeting, we informed our party leaders about what the Prime Minister had to say about the statehood demand, which is positive. We also discussed how to strengthen our party,” he said.
A GJM delegation led by Gurung met with the Prime Minster with Gurung later claiming Modi had expressed his commitment to start the process for creating a separate state. The GJM president also said the PM was positive about granting tribal status to the 11 hill communities and establishing a central university.