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24 Jun 2018

GNLF faces rivals' posers

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Jun 24, 2018, Darjeeling: The GNLF appears to have won Round One of hill politics by quitting the Hill Area Development Committee (HADC) but rivals have questioned its request for a "bipartite" meeting instead of "tripartite" talks.

The rivals believe a bipartite meeting means talks with the state government, as opposed to a "permanent solution" that implies statehood - requiring "a tripartite meeting" that would also involve engaging with the Centre.

The GNLF, which always mastered the art of political jargon, probably had foreseen the question as Niraj Zimba, a prominent GNLF leader, had yesterday said that the party believes in finding a "long lasting/credible political solution" which was the Sixth Schedule in the present political situation.

Zimba had also clarified that a permanent solution was always Gorkhaland.

The GNLF has politically distinguished between "long lasting/credible political solution" and "permanent solution" but opposition parties in the hills -which as a matter of record has not yet established enough mandate, seems unimpressed.

Mann Ghisingh, on Friday announced of its decision to quit HADC along with two of its party appointees in Mahindra Chhetri and Ajoy Edwards.
Amar Lama, bureau member of Jana Andolan Party said: "They (GNF) are talking about bipartite meeting but to find any political solution, a tripartite solution is needed. The GNLF probably took the decision because of internal pressure within the party and they probably do not want elections to be held to the GTA."

Lama, a seasoned politician said: "The decision is good and the state government will probably understand that appeasing two or three leaders will not work in the hills but then they (GNLF) still wants to continue engaging with the state government and this is not the way forward for a permanent solution to the hills."

The GNLF is trying to reposition itself as a party close to the hill community, a decision which might not sound music to the opposition of the hills.

Pratap Khati, general secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha Leage (ABGL) said: "Though it came late (GNLF's decision) the thinking is right."

The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) - which, too, has not been able to be shed its tag of derailing the Gorkhaland movement in 1986 as it was attached with the CPM -welcomed the GNLF's move.

But Gorkha Janmukti Morcha slammed the GNLF's decision. Suraj Sharma, spokesman, GJM, said: "It is a internal matter of the GNLF and we have nothing much to say."

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