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GJM has people’s mandate and support said Roshan Giri

Roshan Giri GJM general secretary
Trying to put up a brave face in the wake of the resignations of two of its senior leaders, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today tried to downplay the development saying it would not have any negative impact on the party. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the people’s mandate and support was still with the party. “The party will not be affected as it is strong and has the people’s mandate. The people of the hills are fully aware of the work the GJM is doing for them,” he asserted.
Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri resigned on September 18 while Trilok Kumar Dewan, the legislator from Darjeeling, quit three days later on September 21. Giri said, “We have yet to receive their formal resignation letters. Let us see what they have to say. But I say nobody is above the party. The decision to ask the MLAs to resign if required was taken way back in 2011.”
While Dewan has also quit as MLA, Chhetri has chosen to remain a legislator to take forward the demand to convert Kalimpong into a district. The duo said the “autocratic” attitude of GJM president Bimal Gurung forced them to take the decision to leave the party as they felt “unwanted”. Gurung had asked the three MLAs to resign from the Assembly to protest the state government’s intrusion into the independent functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
However, the MLAs were not called for the meeting held to take the decision. Rohit Sharma, the Kurseong MLA, submitted his resignation to the Speaker on September 21 along with Dewan, but he has not quit from the GJM. Today, a poster in English and Nepali appeared in Kalimpong in support of Chhetri and the demand to convert the sub-division into a district. The poster signed ‘janta ko awaz’ reads, “We want Kalimpong district. Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri do not be afraid. The people of Kalimpong are with you.” Chhetri has been championing the issue of upgrading Kalimpong sub-division into a district and reportedly took up the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on September 15.
However, Giri refused to give credit to Chhetri saying it was the GJM that had first raised the demand with the state government. “His claim is completely false. During an all-party meeting in Kolkata in 2012 that Chhetri and I attended, we had proposed to the CM to convert Kalimpong into a district. Also, according to the tripartite GTA agreement, the West Bengal government will initiate actions to reorganise and reconstitute the territorial jurisdictions of the three hill sub-divisions including the blocks,” the GJM general secretary pointed out. In 2013, the GTA Sabha passed a resolution to increase the existing eight blocks of the hills to 18. “We are already working on increasing block numbers and sub-divisions and after a report is prepared, we will submit it to the state government,” Giri said.
Political observers are of the opinion that both Chhetri and the GJM stand to gain if Kalimpong is made into a district. “It is a win-win situation for Chhetri and the GJM. Chhetri has not resigned as a legislator, so if the district really comes up, he will definitely gain popularity as Kalimpong residents support the issue. The GJM too will reap benefits and make all effort to show the demand was fulfilled due to the party’s relentless efforts,” an observer said. (EOIC)

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