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4 May 2018

CPM seeks hill body polls, end to 'proxy' rule

Vivek Chhetri, TT, May 02, 2018, Darjeeling: The CPM on Tuesday demanded immediate elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), a day after the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) said an "apolitical" person should replace Binay Tamang as the head of the hill body.

"In democracy, an administration cannot be imposed on the people. Trinamul is running the GTA through proxy," Saman Pathak, a former Rajya Sabha MP and CPM state secretariat member, said. He was speaking at an event to commemorate May Day. It was the CPM's first public meeting in Darjeeling in over a year.

Others at the meeting said the CPM was not opposed to the revival of the GTA. "We welcome GTA-2 (the new term of the hill body) but our demand is that elections should be held not just for the GTA but also for the panchayats," said K.B. Wattar, a district committee member of the CPM.

A board of administrators headed by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Tamang has been running the GTA since September last year.

Tuesday's meeting also renewed a demand for linguistic minority status to the Gorkha language. "The language should be given the status amending the Indian Constitution. Such a status will provide security to the Gorkhas," said Pathak.

The CPM - which had as the erstwhile ruling party in Bengal faced the brunt of the 1986 statehood agitation spearheaded by GNLF founder Subash Ghisingh - spoke against indulging in "the politics of emotions". "The people have no faith, confidence in any party from the hills," Pathak added.

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