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23 Jun 2017

Gurung to quit GTA on June 24 .... will address a gathering on June 27 or 28 and might make "more announcements

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said Bimal Gurung and other members of the organisation would resign from the GTA Sabha on Saturday and postponed an all-party meeting scheduled for that day.
Morcha supporters will also burn the copies of the agreement and the act that paved the way for the creation of the hill body next week.
Besides, Gurung will address a gathering here either on June 27 or 28 and might make "more announcements".
At a meeting of hill parties convened by the Morcha on June 20, it was agreed that Gurung's organisation would "unilaterally withdraw" from the GTA agreement.
The GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) was formed in 2012 and its five-year term will end by the first week of August. The Morcha's decision to join the GTA in 2011 had put the lid on its 44-month statehood agitation, at least temporarily.
"Bimal Gurung will resign as the chief executive of the GTA and a member of the hill body on June 24. Other Morcha members will also put in their papers on that day," said a Morcha leader who didn't want to be named.
The GTA comprises 45 elected and five nominated members. In the 2012 GTA elections, the Morcha had won all 45 constituencies. Of the five nominated members, three were from Trinamul and two from the Morcha.
The two nominated members of the Morcha, too, will resign on Saturday.
An elected GTA member and the chairman of the GTA Sabha, Pradip Pradhan, had joined Trinamul last year. Another elected GTA member, Sanjay Thulung, is absconding as police have registered a case against him. In an FIR registered by the CID, he is accused of providing Rs 13.3 lakh to militants in Nagaland to impart arms training to 15 members of the now defunct Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) and some others from the hills.
Prakash Gurung, who represented Rimbick constituency in the GTA Sabha and the president of the Morcha's youth front, had resigned from the hill body recently with the purported objective of taking up the Gorkhaland demand.
The Morcha today said it had deferred a meeting of all hill-based parties scheduled for June 24
"The main decision of the all-party meeting (on June 20) was to discard the GTA. Keeping in mind that decision, we have planned a series of programmes between June 24 and 28 and that is why June 24's all-party meeting has been cancelled," said the Morcha leader.
He sad Morcha supporters would burn the copies of the tripartite GTA agreement and the GTA Act across the hills on June 25 and 26. "We plan to bring out massive rallies across the hills to burn the copies," said the leader.
Gurung will address a gathering at Chowrastha here either on June 27 or 28. "It would not be a public meeting but an address by Gurung to the masses," a Morcha source said.
Gurung will be addressing the public for the first time since the June 8 flare-up that triggered the current agitation.
"Gurung's address is important as there could be more announcements," said the source.
Asked whether the Morcha wouldn't be sending a wrong signal, if there were further announcements, like relaxation of the strike and launch of other forms of protest, without consulting other hill parties, the source said: "The bone of contention was the GTA and all these programmes are being chalked out to withdraw ourselves from the GTA. The perception of the public as well as other political parties was that the GTA is the stumbling block to the statehood. We are working towards removing that block."
After the resignation of the Morcha members from the GTA, the state government is likely to appoint an administrator to run the hill body.
The Morcha has said its plan is to withdraw totally from the agreement whose other signatories are the Centre and the state government. The party is consulting legal experts to work out the modalities for withdrawing from the agreement, said sources.
Morcha insiders said after the party pulled out of the GTA, the Centre would get an opportunity to step in to end the current impasse.

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