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10 May 2017

Alliance with TMC on Sixth Schedule bargain: GNLF

EOI, DARJEELING, 9 May 2017: The Gorkha National Liberation Front today said it would sever ties with the Trinamool Congress if the ruling party failed to look into the demand for including the hills under the ambit of Sixth Schedule.
The party organised it first election public meeting in Darjeeling for GNLF candidates in fray for the May 14 municipal polls. The GNLF is in an alliance with the TMC for the municipal election and is contesting in all the wards of the four hill municipalities under a seat sharing formula. Niraj Zimba, the GNLF spokesperson, said his party’s alliance with the TMC would remain intact for the upcoming election as chief minister Mamata Banerjee has not spoken against the Sixth Schedule demand.
“She has not said anything against our demand for the hills. We are however, watching how things play out. If the chief minister goes against our demand, we will be compelled to break our future relation and alliance,” he said.
The GNLF's demand is to bring the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule. In 2004, GNLF founder Subash Ghisingh had raised the issue and a year later, a Memorandum of Agreement was also signed on December 6, 2005 with the UPA agreement.
A bill was also introduced in parliament by the Congress-led UPA government but the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, with the help of its partner, the BJP, managed to get the bill shelved.
Of late, the GNLF has again raked up the issue arguing that implementing the Sixth Schedule was the only plausible solution to the problems plaguing the hills.
On the upcoming municipal election, the GNLF was of the opinion that siding with the TMC would get rid of corruption in the civic bodies and hegemony of the GJM. “We need to have good governance of the civic bodies; they should be corruption free and work for the benefit of the people. Under the GJM this was not so. We want to bring a change and that is why we have partnered the TMC in the election,” Zimba said.

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