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20 Jun 2017

Pressure on Morcha to scrap GTA deal

VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, June 19: Most hill-based parties have said that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha should "unilaterally withdraw" from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement, ahead of a meeting to decide the course of the statehood agitation.
Neeraj Zimba, the spokesperson for the Gorkha National Liberation Front, today said: "During the first all-party meeting on June 13, all the participants were unanimous in the opinion that mere resigning from GTA positions would not suffice. The Morcha should unilaterally withdraw from the GTA agreement as it is the stumbling block to achieving Gorkhaland."
Despite being an archrival of the Morcha, the GNLF has responded to its calls for Gorkhaland, given the swelling sentiments over the statehood demand. Across the hills today, GNLF supporters joined rallies held by the Morcha.
The GNLF had submitted a list of suggestions for the Morcha at the first meeting of hill-based parties in Darjeeling last week, which was also attended by the CPRM, Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha, BJP and the apolitical Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh.
The CPM, Congress and Trinamul had given the meeting the skip.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri's Jana Andolan Party, which had not attended the meeting, had, however, sent a list of suggestions as a prerequisite to taking forward the movement over Gorkhaland.
The suggestions included the Morcha members' resignation from the GTA, asking all elected representatives to resign from their posts, seeking a resolution on Gorkhaland from the BJP's national executive committee and demanding that BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia raise the issue in Parliament.
The fate of tomorrow's meeting would largely depend on the Morcha's stand on the suggestions but among the list, the "unilateral withdrawal" from the GTA agreement seems to be the priority.
"The GTA was formed through a state act and the Morcha cannot dissolve the body. However, since the Morcha is a signatory to the act, it can withdraw from the GTA so that the concept of the autonomous body can be rejected," Zimba said.
The move, Opposition parties believe, would also prevent the Morcha from going back to the GTA.
"If the GTA is there, the Morcha might go back  when it suits them. This would leave other Opposition parties in the lurch," said Zimba.

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