Ripe time to start Gorkhaland Agitation - MP lama

Mahendra P Lama
Mahendra P. Lama, the chairman of the Jana Andolan Party's bureau, today said the "core issue" of the party was the creation of Gorkhaland and it was time to call for a movement for the statehood by all organisations, including the hill unit of Trinamul and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The bureau is the policy making body of the JAP. While Lama is the chairman of the bureau, JAP president Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Anmole Prasad and Amar Lama are the other members.
Speaking over phone from Guwahati, Lama said: "We are all very clear in the party and I have also repeatedly said our core issue is the separate state of Gorkhaland. It has been very clearly spelt out in the JAP's vision document and election manifesto. There must be as less relation with the state government as possible as they are against Gorkhaland and a closer relation will only dilute our demand."
Lama who had contested the last Lok Sabha election from Darjeeling unsuccessfully said it was clear from the way Telangana was created that a new state could be formed despite opposition from the state that needed to be divided.
"I feel time is ripe to start a movement for statehood involving every party. We should welcome even if the TMC (hill) leaders want to join us in the movement. We should also include the Morcha leaders, as despite their lack of credibility, they still have the mandate. But the Morcha must leave the GTA, which is a stumbling block."
Lama also said he was against the state government's decision to form development boards in the hills and warned the state that this policy would pose problems for Bengal in future. "It would be foolish to think that this idea (of boards) can be restricted only to Darjeeling and will not spread across the state. Unfortunately, these boards would not have been possible without the active participation of the hill people," said Lama.
Asked if the JAP had decided to go in for an alliance with Trinamul and the GNLF in the coming municipality elections, Lama, said: "We had a meeting of the bureau on Friday. There, it was decided that we would only concentrate on identifying party candidates at the moment. Issues like alliance and seat sharing would be discussed later."
Harka could not be contacted but another senior leader of the JAP, said on condition of anonymity: "Those are Mahendra P. Lama's suggestion to the party, his personal opinions. The atmosphere is such in our party that everyone can speak their mind."

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