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Seven Sabhasads to quit GTA with Bimal Gurung

Yuva Morcha rally in Darjeeling
Seven elected GTA Sabha members from Kurseong today announced that they would quit the hill body the day the chief executive, Bimal Gurung, resigned, saying there was no point in continuing in the autonomous set-up when he would be pursuing a movement for Gorkhaland.
The Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha today told a rally that if any leader tried to back out of the statehood agitation, it would not be accepted.
Gurung had yesterday told the media that he would quit the GTA "in the next two to two-and-a-half months" and start an agitation for the separate state - an announcement he made without consulting the central committee of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Before announcing their decision to quit the GTA, the seven GTA Sabha members didn't take into confidence the central committee either. The seven are Anit Thapa (Kurseong-Giddepahar constituency), Anoos Thapa (Tung-St Mary's), Pranay Thapa (Pankhabari-Longview), Yogendra Rai (Kurseong Bazaar-Deorali), Mahendra Pradhan (Sonada-Pachen), Ratan Thapa (Mungpoo) and Prava Chhetri (Tindharai).
"All GTA Sabha members from Kurseong have decided to resign from the hill body the day the chief executive, Bimal Gurung, quits. The decision has been taken to support Gurung," Rai told a press conference in the Morcha's Kurseong office on Monteviot Road.
Except Prava, all other six GTA Sabha members were present at the media interaction. According to Rai, Prava couldn't make it to the press conference as she was preoccupied with constituency-related work.
Two other GTA Sabha members from the Kurseing area, Roshan Giri (Sitong-Latpanchar), who is also the Morcha general secretary, and Champar Bivar (Panighata), were not part of the resigning group.
"We could not contact Giri and Bivar today," said Rai.
Asked whether the decision had been conveyed to Bimal Gurung, Anit Thapa said: "We have not yet communicated the decision to him. We have taken the decision in support of Bimal Gurung as there is no point in staying in the GTA when our leader wants to quit and start an agitation."
Rai said: "We came to the GTA through the Gorkhaland agitation and we have never dumped the statehood demand. We are not indulging in politics and are getting into an agitation"
He added that they would talk to other elected GTA Sabha members and impress upon them to take similar decisions.
Asked whether the Kurseong GTA members had thought about Trinamul controlling the hill body through the state government after their resignation, Rai said: "It is too premature to say who will be in charge of the GTA after we leave. This is a secondary issue for us. The primary issue is working for Gorkhaland."
Gurung had said yesterday that if other GTA Sabha members wanted to run the GTA after his resignation, they were free to do so.
In Darjeeling, the Yuva Morcha today held a public meeting and requested senior leaders of the party not to turn their back on Gurung's call for the Gorkhaland agitation.
Chandra Bhandari, the general secretary of the Yuva Morcha (Relling-Kaijalay constituency), said: "We request Morcha leaders not to turn their back on the call for an agitation. The Yuva Morcha fully supports the stand taken by our party president, Bimal Gurung. If any other leader conspires to withdraw the agitation, it will not be accepted."
The Yuva Morcha's call and the decision by the seven GTA Sabha members will put pressure on other GTA members to quit the hill body, along with Gurung, observers said.
There are 45-elected and five nominated members in the GTA. Of the five nominated, two are from the Morcha and three from Trinamul. Of the 45 elected members, Sanjay Thulung from Glenburn constituency has been absconding after his name cropped up during the investigation into the ferrying of illegal arms from Assam.
Asked about the decision of the GTA Sabha members from Kurseong, Giri said: "It is too early to comment now."(TT)

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