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25 May 2017

Fast on Morcha statehood

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, May 24: Six members of Yuva Ekai, the youth wing of the Jana Andolan Party, began an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park here today to put pressure on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to come clean on its statehood demand and not reduce the issue to a "gimmick for electoral gains".
In a letter addressed to Morcha president Bimal Gurung, the Yuva Ekai listed three reasons for going on an indefinite hunger strike, that include: the Morcha's explanation on the status of the demand for Gorkhaland, withdrawal of all representatives of the Morcha from elected bodies in Bengal, and force the party to exert pressure on Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahluwalia to raise the demand of Gorkhaland in Parliament.
Amir Basnet, the secretary of the Yuva Ekai, said the indefinite hunger strike would continue till the Morcha came up with a satisfactory response. "We will await the kind of response the Morcha will give. What is obvious though is that one can't talk about Gorkhaland while clinging on to the chairs enjoying the blessings of the state from which you want separation," he said.
The JAP, which has a significant following in Kalimpong, had fought the recent municipal elections on the development plank and lost to the Morcha which had sought the mandate of the people on the issue of Gorkhaland. The JAP, too, at its core wants separation from Bengal, but says it is opposed to the manner in which the Morcha has reduced the demand for Gorkhaland to suit its own vested interest.
The Yuva Ekai said the Morcha had over the years won seven elections on the issue of Gorkhaland, including those to Lok Sabha, Assembly, municipalities and the GTA, but had precious little to show for it. "How many national parties have agreed to extend support to the demand for Gorkhaland? Has the NDA, of which the Morcha is an ally, passed a resolution in favour of Gorkhaland?" asked Basnet, quoting from the letter written to Gurung.
The youth wing of the JAP has also asked the Darjeeling MP to raise the Gorkhaland issue in Parliament so that the country knows that the true aspiration of the people of the hills was separate from Bengal. "Our party had submitted a draft bill on Gorkhaland to the Darjeeling MP prior to the Assembly elections last year, and also held demonstrations in front of his Delhi residence to put pressure on him to table the bill in parliament, but he flatly refused. He, instead, should have been building consensus within the BJP and also the NDA on the Gorkhaland issue because that is his mandate," said Basnet.
Basnet also demanded that the Morcha sever its ties with the state government completely to prove that it was indeed committed to a cause it claims to espouse. "The Morcha must withdraw all elected representatives from different tiers of the state government, including the GTA," he said. The Morcha is in power in three of the four hill municipalities and the GTA and all the three hill legislators are its representatives.

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