Bengal govt. presses for elections as per GTA; GJM dithers

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Despite the insistence of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) that the elections for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) be held only after the high powered committee submits its recommendations regarding inclusion of the Terai and Dooars in the GTA, the West Bengal government said on Friday that elections in the Hills will be held in the next two months. This was conveyed to a delegation of GJM leaders led by its general secretary Roshan Giri. The GJM delegation was said that according to the tripartite agreement for setting up the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) the elections in the Hills will has to be held now.

Giri told reporters, “We have asked the chief minister to wait till the high-power committee submits its report on the inclusion of Terai-Dooars. We have also asked her to let GTA be an interim body until this is done.”

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is said to have rejected the demand of forming the GTA with nominated members till the decision of High Powered Committee comes.

A high powered committee under Justice Shyamal Sen Committee has been set up to ascertain the GTA jurisdiction. It will look into the demand to include parts of the Dooars and Terai in the GTA. The committee also met on Friday and will again meet on March 27 to discuss the modalities of enumerating Gorkha-speaking population in Terai-Dooars. Factors like compactness, continuity and homogeneity has been earmarked by the govt. to be considered while determining the additional territory of GTA.

“The government wants to conduct the polls now for GTA with Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, in accordance with the tripartite agreement and the GTA Act. But we, as a party, have certain compulsion,” said GJM Gen. Sce Roshan Giri.

The GJM leader were told that the govt. has issued the notification for the GTA Act. It calls for holding elections in the Hills. Elections might be held in the next two months.

The GJM has called a meeting of party’s central committee on Sunday to discuss the future course of action.

In the meantime WB CM Mamata Banerjee also turned down the request of GJM to leave a seat for their Rajya Sabha nominee.



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