Opposition political parties in Darjeeling formed Democratic Front

Opposition political parties in Darjeeling formed Democratic Front
Opposition political parties in Darjeeling Hills have formed a separate political forum--'Democratic Front'- -to "redirect and restore" democracy in the hills. In an all-party meeting, except for the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) -- called by the All India Gorkha League (AIGL) for the formation of the front at the AIGL party office here, the president of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM), RB Rai, said that the motive behind the formation of the front is to "redirect the course of democracy in Darjeeling and restore the democratic environment here." Bharati Tamang, the president of the AIGL and wife of former president Madan Tamang, who was assassinated on 21 May, 2010, said: "Madan Tamang was murdered in broad daylight and that is definitely a hindrance to democracy.

With this democratic front, we'll ensure that nothing of this kind is repeated." Mr Rai, speaking on a similar note, said: “Madan Tamang was a people's leader; it's been over five years since his murder, and still the criminals who committed this gruesome act walk freely."  According to Mr Rai, not only is this front a pressure tactic to persuade the government to secure democracy in Darjeeling, but it is also a platform through which democracy will be revived in the hills. Today's meeting witnessed representatives from the AIGL, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), CPRM, the Communist Party of India Marxists (CPI-M) and the Sikkim Darjeeling Ekikaran Mancha (SDEM) and saw the formation of the democratic front. The front consists of two members,each from the five parties. Pratap Khati, the spokesperson and general secretary of the AIGL was chosen as the convener of this front. "We had invited all the parties of Darjeeling, except the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) in this meeting.

The Congress and the TMC informed us that they would not be able to attend the meeting as they were engaged with some work," said Mr Khati. When asked Mr Rai, about what steps they will take in order to restore democracy in Darjeeling he said: "The first step will be to seek justice for Mr Tamang's murder. We will organise public meetings, put up posters and do everything necessary.We will also write to the central and the state government in this matter.

The democratic front will meet the governor of West Bengal,Keshari Nath Triparthi, tomorrow and talk to him about the present situation of Darjeeling." However, the assistant general secretary of the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) and executive member of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), Binoy Tamang criticized this democratic front and said: "It is the GJMM that brought democracy in Darjeeling after two decades of undemocratic rule. Today taking due advantage of the democracy enjoyed here, some political parties have united only for their political interest. Where were these parties at the time of the murder of CK Pradhan, Prakash Theeng and Rudra Pradhan? They could not even raise their voices against such brutal acts." According to him, the united platform for democracy is laughable as democracy already exists in Darjeeling. "However, if these parties would have united for the cause of Gorkhaland, GJMM as well as the general public here, would have supported them," he added.(sns)

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