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Subash Ghisingh 80th birthday celebrated, said No plans to retire anytime soon

Subash Ghisingh 80th birthday celebrated
GNLF Chief Subash Ghisingh, the grand old man of hill politics as some prefer to describe him, today celebrated his 80th birthday even as he asserted he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
The president of the Gorkha National Liberation Front, who has been battling with health issues for a while now, re-entered the hills on March 19(Read Subash Ghising back in Darjeeling)  of this year after nearly four years in exile. He stayed at a rented house in Jalpaiguri for most of those four years and shifted closer to the hills in Matigara only recently before climbing uphill.
This morning, the maverick leader in his trademark attire comprising a tweed jacket and a leather bag clutched in one hand, waved to supporters who had gathered outside his house on Dr. Zakir Hussain Road on the upper fringes of town. Speaking over a public address system, Ghisingh said, “I am still here and have not finished yet. You are celebrating my birthday today and I thank you for that but it is not the appropriate time to talk about politics. I will definitely discuss it soon, but from Chowk Bazaar.”
Ghisingh formed the GNLF in the 1980s and started his 28-month Gorkhaland statehood agitation that left more than 1,200 people dead. The agitation ended after the signing of an accord between the state and central governments and the GNLF and the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988.
Although he did not state it explicitly, the GNLF chief did hint at reviving the Sixth Schedule status demand, his party’s agenda for this year’s general election and the reason for the tie-up with the Trinamool Congress.
“We must celebrate occasions according to our culture and traditions and not follow Western ways as is the trend nowadays,” he said, and exhibiting a glimpse of his well-known eccentric character, asked the supporters gathered braving the drizzle to offer ‘Boju Devta’ (a tribal deity) seven types of flowers and seven pieces of ‘sel roti’ (Nepali bread) for good things to happen.
The GNLF ran the writ in the Darjeeling hills for more than 22 years until 2007 when Ghisingh failed to gauge the general sentiment against the Sixth Schedule issue he had propagated since 2005. A bill on this was even placed in Parliament, but had to be shelved given the strong opposition by the BJP.
The present political dispensation – the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha – took advantage of the anti-Sixth Schedule wave that was further fueled by the people’s resentment at Ghisingh over his reluctance to back Prashant Tamang, a local youth participating in a national reality singing show, who eventually emerged victorious.
The GNLF subsequently saw its support base dwindling rapidly and several senior leaders including Ghisingh were forced out of the hills in 2008 after a shooting incident that killed a GJM supporter. The 2011 assembly election did provide Ghisingh the opportunity to return to the hills but his stay was short-lived and he went back to the confines of his rented lodgings in the plains.(EOIC)

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