Grand welcome to Rohit Sharma at Bagdogra airport by Morcha supporters

Grand welcome to Rohit Sharma at Bagdogra airport by Morcha supporters
Bagdogra, Sept. 23: Over 1,000 supporters and several leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha assembled at Bagdogra airport today to welcome Rohit Sharma, a party central committee member, as he returned from Calcutta after resigning as the Kurseong MLA.
The crowd led by GTA member and Morcha leader Asha Gurung waited outside the airport from 12.30pm.
Around 2.30pm, as Sharma walked out, he was surrounded by enthusiastic supporters who garlanded him and offered khada (silk scarf) as a mark of respect.
The airport premises reverberated with "Bimal Gurung zindabad," "Rohit Sharma zindabad" and "We want Gorkhaland," slogans as people greeted Sharma.
The supporters chanted " Jai Kali Mahakali, ayo ayo Gorkhali," the battle cry of the Gorkha Regiment.
The two other elected legislators of the hill party, Harka Bahadur Chhetri of Kalimpong and Trilok Dewan of Darjeeling, resigned from the Morcha recently. While Dewan has resigned as the MLA as well, Harka has not.
"We have been saying that the state government is interfering in the affairs of the GTA. This is unacceptable. Despite being a member of the Legislative Assembly of the state, we were never allowed to raise this issue at the Assembly. If an MLA is not allowed to speak on pertinent issues related to the hills and its people, there is no point in clinging on to the post. I have followed the party's decision and stepped down as an MLA in protest," Sharma said as the crowd cheered.
"The entire hills are with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and will continue to be with the party. Today, people from the hills proved their support to the party once again by coming here in large numbers to welcome me. I feel proud and I would like to say that the decision of these people (Chhetri and Dewan) will not affect the Morcha in any way," he added.
He also spoke about the demand for the new Kalimpong district.
"We welcome the demand and we would like to say that if the state takes a decision on it, we will also seek separate district status for Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik. The rise the in number of districts would augment our political strength," Sharma said.
Asha Gurung, who kept encouraging the crowd, said: "We have come here to welcome Rohit Sharma and congratulate him on his decision. In due course, it would be proved that the decision taken by two people (Chhetri and Dewan) will not have any impact on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha."
Morcha sources said Sharma was felicitated at different locations on his way to Kurseong. "He was felicitated at Sukna and Rohini. In Kurseong, a street corner was organised where he was congratulated," said R.B. Lama, a leader in Kurseong.
Airport sources said since the GTA was formed, today's Morcha gathering was one of the largest. "After several months, there has been a large assembly of Morcha supporters today. It reminded us of the gatherings between 2007 and 2011 (the statehood agitation period)," said a source.(TT)

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