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15 Mar 2017

GTA Sabha member quits for statehood

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March 14: A GTA Sabha member today quit the post with the objective of taking up the Gorkhaland cause, hinting that the BJP's victory in the Uttar Pradesh elections had provided the right time for people to pursue the statehood demand.
Prakash Gurung has not resigned from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha but his decision is likely to put immense pressure on the party leadership.
"I have tendered my resignation. We will go to the public once again and tell them that this is the right time to raise the statehood issue. The government at the Centre is in favour of smaller states and they are set to be in majority even in the Upper House. The youths believe we should not miss such an opportunity by getting lost in an autonomous set-up like the GTA," Prakash said over the phone from Mirik.
Prakash, who had been elected to the GTA Sabha from Rimbick-Lodhama constituency, is also the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha.
The Telegraph is in possession of his resignation letter that has been addressed to GTA Sabha chairman. A copy of the letter has also been sent to Bimal Gurung, the chief executive of the GTA as well as the president of the Morcha.
However, there is confusion in the GTA over the chairman's post. After Bhupendra Pradhan, more commonly known as Pradip, had joined Trinamul, he was removed from the post of the GTA chairman. Although the GTA Sabha later elected Lopsang Yolmo as the new chairman, the state government has not endorsed the decision yet.
In his resignation letter, Prakash has clearly hinted that he wants to take up the statehood cause as the state government has failed to allow the GTA to function properly.
"Under your able leadership I have had the honour of serving as a people's representative .......However, over the last couple of years, I've sensed and realised the manner in which the West Bengal State Government has refused to transfer departments to GTA, set up community boards and target GTA leadership politically slapping false case is evident for anyone to see," the letter reads.
Prakash said the government was trying to dilute the demand for Gorkhaland.
"Despite your best effort in ensuring that the GTA runs effectively, I've seen the way in which the state government has posed hurdles at every stage and politicised the GTA to the extent that its intention of weakening the rightful and constitutional demand for separate state of Gorkhaland has become evident," the letter further reads.
Prakash has said in the letter that he has not consulted the party before taking the decision.
Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said: "I will comment only after going through the content of the letter."
Observers said it would be interesting to know how the state government would react to an ominous sign that the Gorkhaland issue could once again be revived in the hills.

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