Subash Ghisingh back in Darjeeling

Subash Ghisingh back in Darjeeling
Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Subash Ghisingh, the once undisputed king of the Darjeeling hills, today walked into his home in Darjeeling after more than 30 months of exile and pledged never to leave again.
Speaking to reporters seated in a dimly lit room, Ghisingh exuded confidence and said, "Aba ma aaye, aba prashnai chaina janey" (I have come now. There is no question of leaving now). I had left the hills because people were on the boil then. But now I see support to the party is more than what it was during the 1980s.”
The GNLF chief and most of his lieutenants were forced to leave the hills in 2008 after a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporter got killed in July of that year. Ghisingh had since lived in Jalpaiguri and later at Matigara near Siliguri.
He had come back to Darjeeling in April 2011 for the Assembly elections, but left the following month in the shadow of darkness leaving even party activists surprised and confused.
GNLF supporters in their hundreds with green vermilion on their foreheads greeted Ghisingh at Sukna, Tindharay, Kurseong, Sonada and Jorebungalow shouting "Our Subash zindabad". The scene was the same outside his house in Dr. Zakir Hussain Road when he arrived around 3.30 in the evening.
"I am not a duplicate Ghisingh but the same one. Whatever I have to say I will in a public meeting. Now that I am here, see what happens henceforth," he said to charged-up supporters gathered outside his house.
Answering a wide range of questions thrown at him by reporters, the GNLF chief commented on the party's election strategy by stating, "We will wait for the scrutiny process to get over and then see who the candidates are and from which parties. Our central committee will soon sit for a meeting to take a decision and then announce it in a public meeting.”
All the same, Ghisingh asserted BJP candidate SS Ahluwalia, including the TMC, CPM and independent candidate Mahendra P Lama had all sought his support.
"It is too early to say anything about our election strategy now. But yes, Ahluwalia of the BJP has sought my support through one of our party leaders. Even the TMC, CPM and Lama have asked for my support," the GNLF chief claimed.
However, Ahluwalia, who reached Darjeeling in the afternoon, said he has not contacted the GNLF or any of its leaders.
On the contentious issue of the Sixth Schedule being propagated by him, the GNLF president claimed it was still in the Bill form and not scrapped altogether as is being wrongly trumpeted by the GJM and others.
"The Sixth Schedule bill has not been scrapped yet as is being announced by various quarters here. It has only been differed in Parliament by the standing committee of home affairs and not placed in either the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha," Ghisingh claimed.
"We will use our channels in Delhi to find out why the bill has been kept under wraps,” he added.
Then union home minister Shivraj Patel had placed the Sixth Schedule bill before Parliament in 2008, but the BJP, who had tied up with the GJM in the 2009 LS election, opposed it and got it stalled.
Ghisingh also refused to talk about the GJM saying everything was open for all to see, while he termed the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration unconstitutional with its fate still hanging in thin air.(EOIC)


 Ghisingh returns, never to leave again

Siliguri/Darjeeling, 19 March: Emboldened, once again by the election model code of conduct, and the fast regrouping of supporters in Darjeeling Hills, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) supremo Subash Ghisingh, 77, today returned to the Hills after a gap of around three years.
Threatened, hounded and finally ousted by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) in 2008, the once ‘uncrowned king’ of the Hills lived in Jalpaiguri after that and later shifted to Matigara near Siliguri.
Earlier too, he visited Darjeeling on April 8, 2011, a time when the model code of conduct was in force for the Assembly elections in the state, but he returned to the plains soon. However, this time around, the man who spearheaded a bloody agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland in the mid-1980s, said he has returned to “never leave the Hills again.”
As he left Lichubagan at Matigara today, Mr Ghisingh said his party will hold meetings in the Hills and accordingly take a stance on the Lok Sabha elections.
"The CPI-M, Trinamul Congress and independent candidate Mahendra P Lama have sought our support, but have not taken a final decision," he told reporters.
Mr Ghisingh formed the GNLF way back in 1980 and he spearheaded the Gorkhaland agitation in the Hills in the mid-1980s, until he signed an agreement with the state and central governments and accepted the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 1988. Since then, he enjoyed over two decades of supremacy in the Hills. However, he later had to face the ire of one of his lieutenants, Bimal Gurung, who opposed his boss’ signing of an agreement in December 2005 to bring areas under the DGHC into the Sixth Schedule, which means making the entire DGHC a tribal area.
Mr Ghisingh’s return also comes at a time when his supporters are slowly regrouping. The Gorkha National Women’s Organisation, the women’s cell of the GNLF, recently made a comeback in the Hills and set up town committees in Kurseong and Darjeeling and held public meetings. His supporters have also been claiming that the GNLF is still a force in the Hills to reckon with.
His supporters gave Mr Ghisingh a rousing welcome at his home on Dr Zakir Hussain Road in Darjeeling, while all along the way from Siliguri to Darjeeling, they cheered him in places like Sukna, Tindharia, Rongtong, Sonada and Jorebunglow. "I will never leave the Hills again," he said, once home and settled down a bit. "Even the GJMM candidate, SS Ahluwalia, has approached me (for poll support),” he later said, adding, "I am waiting for all the parties to file their nominations. I will then announce my decision." Mr Ghising also said he will go to Delhi to enquire about the status of the sixth schedule bill that both the Houses of parliament had earlier rejected. "The 6th schedule bill has not been scrapped. It has been deferred by the standing committee of home affairs," he said. He claimed that more than 60% people in the Hills now supports the GNLF. (SNS)


‘Aappa’ leaves an indelible mark in Lichubagan


Matigara, Siliguri, 19 March
Days of suspended animation among people keeping a watch over politics in the region finally ended today. The bags were all packed and loaded in three small cars, the LED TV had been dismantled and put away in one of the cars, and men ran helter-skelter trying to fix things for the final time. The time had arrived. The now physically frail and weak supremo of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Subash Ghising, set out on a journey that political observers say can very well change the political dynamics in the Darjeeling Hills, especially in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Since early morning today, journalists roamed around the rented three-storey house in Lichubagan at Matigara in Siliguri, where Mr Ghisingh had been living for the past 11 months, while neighbours stood in silence to bid him goodbye.
A long wait over, ‘Aappa’ (dad), as his supporters fondly call Mr Ghisingh, climbed down the stairs of the house, only to be mobbed by the journalists, who threw a volley of questions on the chairman of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), who has maintained a low profile since he left the Hills.
The neighbours recalled him as a ‘quiet man,’ who seldom went out and mingled with them.
“This could be because of his old age and frail health,” a lady at a Penticostal church nearby said.
“It is a mixed feeling. While we are sad that he is leaving for good, we will pacify ourselves at the thought that he will be going to the Hills as per the wishes of thousands of his supporters there,” said another neighbour, who added that Mr Ghisingh, despite remaining aloof from the outside world, was busy everyday meeting his party people.
During his stay in the place, a village-like area dotted by a few houses and a dirt road, Mr Ghisingh, who is not keeping too well these days, maintained a ‘healthy’ lifestyle.
According to the landlord, Rajesh Oraon, the former Darjeeling strongman used to get up early and take a ‘jog’ on the terrace every morning, before he started the day with newspapers and TV news channels.
“He was also a very religious man, and he offered the puja to the gods every day,” Mr Oraon said, adding that Mr Ghisingh lived in the house as a ‘family member.’
The all-the-way pious side of the GNLF chief was evident today at Matigara, when his aides made sure that he faced the east as soon as he came out to leave for Darjeeling from the door that was facing north.  Even as he headed for Darjeeling, he stopped at Rohini below Kurseong and offered puja at a temple there.
According to Mr Oraon’s cousin, Akhilesh Puri, Mr Ghisingh believed in different Hindu deities and that he thoroughly worshipped them before he left the house today.
Meanwhile, while some neighbours questioned people around if the ‘popular figure’ will return to the house, Mr Ghisingh said in Darjeeling that he will stay put there now.
However, Mr Oraon said he will not rent out the house to anyone again until and unless the GNLF boss tells him he is done with it.
“He just said he will be going to Darjeeling and left. He never talked anything about leaving the house forever,” Mr Oraon said, expressing hope that the man who made his building and the entire Lichubagan popular in the region would return some day.(SNS)
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Subash Ghisingh back in Darjeeling,Ghisingh returns, never to leave again,‘Aappa’ leaves an indelible mark in Lichubagan

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