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21 Jun 2017

Hills BJP for Gorkhaland, party in a fix ....We were part of a meeting but did not agree to any stand," BJP state president

Jayanta Gupta & Deep Gazmer | TNN | Jun 21, 2017, DARJEELING: The local unit of the BJP attended an all-party meeting of Darjeeling Hills parties on Tuesday — which ended in a resolution demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland — and put the state unit of the party in a quandary.
The state BJP's reaction betrayed its discomfiture. Any support to the demand for a separate Hills state can have severe political implications for the party's prospects in the rest of Bengal, where the party increasingly sees itself as the main challenger to the ruling Trinamool Congress.
"We were part of a meeting but did not agree to any stand," said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh. Even the party's Darjeeling MP — and Union minister — S S Ahluwalia shied away from directly espousing the Gorkhaland cause, though he threw his weight behind the 12-day-old protests and questioned the state's "silence" on the death of three protesters.
Tuesday's protracted meeting took place at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club, which saw participation by 14 parties. It was decided that the tripartite agreement between the Centre, state and GJM in July 2011 should be scrapped immediately. Adding to the unease, it was also decided that the bandh will continue till the state rolls back its "repressive" steps, including withdrawing armed forces and the internet shutdown. The BJP local unit's position is in complete contrast to its stand that the party does not support the call for a separate state of Gorkhaland. The central leadership of BJP also has never directly supported the Gorkhaland demand. The party's manifesto for the 2014 polls mentioned that BJP would "appropriately consider and sympathetically examine the long-pending problems of the Gorkhas".
"Gorkhaland is the top priority and a unanimous decision was taken to carry on the struggle for a separate state," said P Arjun of the GJM study forum. "The GTA accord is also to be scrapped by the GJM as soon as possible. It was also resolved that an all-India, all-party delegation will meet the President, Prime Minister and Union home minister on our demands."
Apart from leaders of the GJM that convened the second round of talks with stakeholders from the Hills, delegations from BJP, GNLF, Gorkha Rashtriya Nirman Morcha, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (apolitical), Congress Hills, Jan Andolan Party, All India Gorkha League, CPRM and Darjeeling Doors United Foundation were present at the meeting. The BJP delegation was led by Suman Sharma, its Hills secretary.
Arjun said the onus was on the state to bring about peace in the Hills and create a situation in which the bandh can be withdrawn. "The government will have to stop police atrocities, human rights abuse and the crushing of a people's democratic movement. We have the right to protest and demand a separate state. It is our prerogative and we need no permission from the state government for such a movement. The state will also have to reconsider its rigid stand on the introduction of Bengali in schools in the Hills and the negative views it has about the people here. We also demand immediate restoration of internet services in the Hills. Blocking the internet is nothing short of human rights abuse.... These are the repressive steps the state has to stop," he said.
It was also decided in the meeting that none of the participants would attend the all-party meeting which the chief minister has convened in Siliguri on Thursday. BJP, however, is yet to make its stand clear on this meeting. An all-India coordination committee for Gorkhaland will also be formed for a pan-India movement for a separate state. The composition of this committee will be decided in another all-party meeting on Saturday.
"We are stunned by the killing of three youths and even observed a minute's silence in memory of the martyrs before the meeting began," said Delhi University professor Muneesh Tamang, also the national working president of BGP. "The near resignation of the GJM from the GTA will not help as the body will still remain. The aim is scrap the accord altogether. The GJM holds a third of the stake in GTA and we are sure that no other outfit is going to replace it as it has been realized that only statehood can solve our problems," he added.
"We are no longer different parties but a unified forum demanding Gorkhaland. Now, Kanchenjunga will only smile at the beginning on the formation of Gorkhaland. The coordination committee will also bring Nepali-speaking Indian Gorkhas from other states. This committee will also take a decision on whether GJM leaders should resign from the MLA and other legislative posts," said GNLF spokesperson Niraj Zimba.
(Source & Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/hills-bjp-for-gorkhaland-party-in-a-fix/articleshow/59243372.cms)

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