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5 Aug 2017

Call for Parliament gherao - Hint at Harka Delhi push

Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, Aug. 4: The Jana Andolan Party today announced a two-day gherao of Parliament next week to draw the Centre's attention to the statehood agitation, but veterans in hill politics said the aim of the move was to position the fledgling outfit as a powerful player in Darjeeling.
In an appeal made in New Delhi today, president of the JAP Harka Bahadur Chhetri said all those in favour of Gorkhaland should make their voices heard by marching to Parliament from Jantar Mantar.
"We will organise sansad gherao on Monday and Tuesday. We appeal to all the residents of Delhi, the GSSS (Gorkhaland Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti), all the members of the GMCC (Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee) and all other organisations to participate in the gherao and demonstrate our majority and the importance we attach to our demand," he said.
In his appeal, the JAP president also sought the intervention of the central government. "The (Parliament) session is on. This is the time to raise the issue. If we do not raise the right issue at the right place, if those responsible to raise the issue do not do so now, we will never get justice...Let us take a step forward and shake up the central government which has been found napping so far," he said.
This is the first unilateral programme announced by the JAP since the formation of the GMCC over a month back. The GMCC is a joint body of all pro-Gorkhaland political and apolitical organisations formed with an express purpose of providing collective leadership to the movement.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is the major party in the GMCC, has made some unilateral announcements in the past, including the ongoing "fast-unto-death" by the members of its youth wing, the Yuva Morcha.
The JAP call for a march to Parliament comes a day after Morcha-backed BJP MP from Darjeeling S.S. Ahluwalia, asked Gorkhas to shun the path of violence and sit for talks.
Ahluwalia's absence from the hills during the agitation has been a cause of embarrassment for the Morcha, which has been pinning hopes on the BJP-led Centre. Sources in the Morcha admitted that his yesterday's comments added to their embarrassment.
Many in the hills feel the Morcha has outsourced the statehood demand movement to the GMCC as part of a strategy to hold all organisations responsible in case of a failure to realise the Gorkhaland dream. Following suggestions from the parties, the GMCC announced its plans to shift the focus of the movement to Delhi to draw the Centre's attention, but the plan wasn't executed amid murmurs that the Morcha wasn't keen on creating trouble in the Capital.
"The JAP intends to use the opportunity and be the first party to launch an agitation in Delhi... It will give the party visibility and it can also claim ownership of the movement," said a political scientist based in Calcutta.
Now with the JAP trying to take the centrestage in the Gorkhaland movement, Gurung's party will be under pressure to respond, said observers.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR CALCUTTA BUREAU

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