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22 Sep 2018


VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, 22 Sep 2018, Darjeeling: Binay Tamang on Friday said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had requested the Bengal government to conduct elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) by December this year.

Tamang was been nominated as chairperson of the board of administration of the hill body since September last year and the tenure of the board has been extended by six months by the government only a few days ago.

"There are lots of comments on social media regarding the extension. We never demanded extension. It is the state government which extended the tenure under the GTA Act," Tamang said.

"We have, in fact, requested the state government to conduct polls (of the GTA) by December. We, however, have not heard from them. We requested the state government as the elections is conducted by the state government and not by the Election Commission of India," said Tamang.

This is the first time, Tamang has said the party has categorically requested the government to hold elections.

Earlier, Tamang had only maintained the party is ready to face elections and that they would win all the 45 seats in the GTA. The GTA, which was formed in 2012, could not complete its five-year term with Bimal Gurung and all elected GTA Sabha members tendering their resignation from the GTA Sabha before completion of its tenure last year.

Observers believe Tamang's statement is an indication that he is confident of returning to power.

"The GNLF has already termed the GTA unconstitutional and illegal and wants the erstwhile DGHC to be reinstated until Sixth Schedule status is implemented in the hills. Given this stand the GNLF would find it difficult to contest the GTA elec- tions," said an observer. "The CPRM is yet to con- solidate its organisational base while the TMC, too, has not strengthened its bases except in Mirik," the observer added. "The influence of development boards is also crucial for TMC." Tamang, who was speaking at the 15th foundation day programme of GhoomJorebunlgow College in Darjeeling, said: "I urge educated and literate youths to join politics. There is a thought that politics is a dirty game but if educated and literate youths join politics the future of this place will be good," Tamang said.

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