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8 Jul 2018

Few takers for Gurung 'unity' appeal

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Jul 08, 2018, Darjeeling: Bimal Gurung's appeal to hill parties to "come together on a common platform to achieve the goal of Gorkhland" has failed to cut ice largely because of their bitter experiences with similar calls by him in the past.

Following the Centre's decision to hold a meeting with the proponents of Bodoland state in Delhi recently, Gurung had on Friday made the appeal.

Amar Lama, bureau member of the Jana Andolan Party, said: "You can fool some people some time but you cannot fool all people all the time. It was him (Gurung) who unceremoniously cut short the Joint Action Committee in 2013 by terming the all party chapter closed. Similarly in 2017, they (Morcha) were responsible for derailing the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee," said Lama.

The two committees, JAC and GMCC were formed largely due to Morcha's initiative when it had started the Gorkhaland agitation.

Pratap Khati, ABGL leader whose name was taken by Gurung in the appeal, said: "The realisation has come a bit too late but it is good. Our leader, Madan Tamang always harped on collective leadership but he could not understand the meaning of collective leadership now. He (Gurung) used to act like an uncrowned king of the hills then."

Khati said more than "collective leadership" a "sincere leadership" was the need of the hour. "Even in the last GMCC meeting, Niraj Zimba (of GNLF) used to speak at length but his party was the one to write to the state government and derail the Gorkhaland agitation," said Khati.

The GNLF, however, rejected Khati's allegation. "The leaders spearheading the agitation went underground, the agitation was directionless and the 105-day strike was heading nowhere and we had to write to the state," said Zimba.

The GNLF said that the time had come for an appeal to all parties to press for the Sixth Schedule.

The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) - Gurung had made a specific appeal to the party - was also sceptical. "In the past such initiatives were undertaken only when someone was in distress and once things became normal they took a different stance. This is the bitter truth," said Govind Chhetri, general secretary, CPRM.

Tea union

The Joint Forum, a conglomeration of 24-trade unions from north Bengal, on Saturday formed a hill sub-committee in the absence of representatives of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The Telegraph had reported on Saturday that the Morcha was no longer willing to work under the Joint Forum banner.

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