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64 TMC party members join Morcha alleging failure to fulfil promises

64 TMC party members join Morcha
Desertion from the Trinamul Congress continues in the Darjeeling hills with 64 party members joining the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today alleging "infighting" in the leadership and failure to fulfil promises.

The Trinamul supporters led by Sangram Thakuri, a former assistant secretary of the Trinamul Youth Congress in the hills, took the Morcha's flags from party chief Bimal Gurung.

The Trinamul supporters who switched over to the Morcha are from Phoobshering and Mangalpuri areas, about 10km from Darjeeling.

After accepting the Morcha flag from Gurung in the party office at Patlabas here, Thakuri said: "Trinamul has no strong leadership in the hills. The leaders are fighting among themselves. The party only talks about assurances but it is unable to do anything in the hills. Trinamul promised to regularise GTA employees and provide pattas (land rights) to tea garden workers but nothing has been done."

Over the past one month, hundreds of people have left Trinamul and joined the Morcha in far-flung areas of the hills, saying the state government had failed to deliver on its promises.

Yesterday, the Darjeeling Himalayan Karmachari Sangathan, a union of GTA employees affiliated to Trinamul, had been dissolved by its central committee, saying Mamata Banerjee's party had been unable to fulfil the aspirations of the members. The Sangathan had been formed primarily with the demand of regularisation of GTA employees.

Addressing the new entrants to the Morcha today, Gurung said: "There are hardly any people left with Trinamul (in the hills). However, nothing had hurt me more than the people leaving our party to join Trinamul, which has openly stated it does not support the demand for Gorkhaland."

"We have accepted the GTA (hill body) but I will never compromise the demand for Gorkhaland. I have to take care of development but then, I am taking all possible steps to achieve our statehood dream. The Centre, too, is positive towards us. At this moment, we have to remain united," he added.

The Morcha president said when he had resigned as the chief executive of the GTA, a lot of people had joined Trinamul. "When I resigned from the GTA, a lot of people joined Trinamul thinking that they could get nothing from our party. The hill people must also start looking beyond contract works and strive for the achievement of Gorkhaland," said Gurung.

Gurung had resigned on July 30, 2013, when the UPA had agreed to form Telangana state. He, however, reversed his decision and took oath as the chief executive of the GTA on December 26, 2013.

Gurung also said many Trinamul leaders in the hills were in touch with the Morcha and they, too, would join his party soon.

Binny Sharma, the general secretary of Trinamul (hills), denied that there was infighting in the hill leadership. "Those are baseless statements. Of late, it has become fashionable for people to switch from one party to another in the hills. The people who left Trinamul today are those who had come to us with personal motives. We might not be a big force in the hills today but our supporters are a dedicated lot and committed to peace and development."

Trinamul seems to be finding it hard to convince its supporters to continue supporting the party purely on the plank of peace and development. Most of the Trinamul supporters who are joining the Morcha say Gorkhaland is an issue that they cannot discard.

Thakuri iterated the thought today: "We have realised that our thoughts and aspiration do not synchronise with Trinamul. Its not a party for the hill people."

Even Gurung broached the subject during his address. "It is well known that national and state parties have not been able to make inroads into the Darjeeling hills because our main issue is Gorkhaland," he said.

Source: The Telegraph

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