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21 Apr 2018

'Ghisingh' back on plaque

The new plaque at the Gorkha Bhavan in Salt Lake
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Apr 21, 2018, Darjeeling: An inauguration plaque bearing the name of former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu and former Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Subash Ghisingh that had been removed from Gorkha Bhavan at Salt Lake in Calcutta by the earlier political dispensation of the hills was restored on Wednesday.

The gesture, though small, is symbolic of the new hill leaders trying to improve political practices in the hills.

The plaque was installed when Basu had inaugurated Gorkha BhaVan in Calcutta on February 9, 1996, in presence of Ghisingh.

Many believe the plaque was removed because Ghisingh's name was inscribed. In fact, similar inauguration plaques had been removed from different places in the hills after Bimal Gurung overthrew Ghisingh in 2008.

Binay Tamang, the new president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, who was in Calcutta on Friday, said: "Let other political parties or even the GNLF continue to lambast us but we will continue to do things which we think is right."

Sources said the plaque which was at the Bhawan's lobby was removed and a cupboard had been installed in its place.

Gorkha Bhavan is one of the hill body's important assets outside the region and provides accommodations to general public and officials visiting the state capital.

Earlier, too, the GTA had decided to rename Rohini Road as Subash Ghisingh Marg after the GNLF leader.

This is, however, not to say that the Morcha and GNLF are moving close to each other.

On Friday, the Morcha launched a vitriolic attack on the GNLF.

Sandip Chhetri, the spokesman for the Morcha's Darjeeling subdivisional committee, said: "The GNLF's dream to come to power in the hills again will only remain a dream. The hill people were with the Morcha and will continue to be with us."

Chhetri's rebuttal comes a day after GNLF leader Y. Lama had said that people were supporting the GNLF in droves. "They talk about 10-15,000 attendance in one of their public meetings but that is the entire support they have in the hills. On the other hand their leaders like Daya Dewan from Kurseong have been joining our party with their entire supporters," said Chhetri.

"We are not making much noise about the joining as we are not empty vessels."

The attack and counter attack between Morcha and GNLF is a clear indication that these two parties are in prominence in the hills. In many ways, it is also an indication that after last year's agitation, GNLF has made some inroads after the party was almost decimated from 2008 onwards.

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