“Abhi hum chahta hai, ab Gorkhaland nahi mangengey. Abhi Gorkhaland nahi mangengey. Aur kuch mangengey, samay ayega…. Ab Gorkhaland nahi hoga (Now we are thinking we will not demand Gorkhaland. We will ask for something else and the time will come for it. Gorkhaland will not happen for now).” – Bimal Gurung
Darjeeling, 28 August 2013:
Even as the statehood agitation in the hills is surging forward with demonstrations, rallies and speeches, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today surprised one and all by stating he would demand for something other than a separate Gorkhaland state when the appropriate time approaches.
Further, he sounded vague when commenting on the state government’s attempts to crush the ongoing agitation and the Centre’s apparent refusal to be part of the ongoing ‘political showdown’.
“If the state government has a problem with the Gorkhaland state demand, then there will come a time when we will have to ask for something else,” said Gurung. “In any agitation there are pluses and minuses, this we do accept. We maybe on a lower ground at the moment, but that position will not remain permanent. Darjeeling was never a part of West Bengal.”
The GJM chief made these comments this morning in Darjeeling to an electronic media channel while overseeing a public meeting organised by the student’s front.
However, when was asked to comment on the same issue at a press meet later in the afternoon, Gurung refused to elaborate and snapped, “Darjeeling was never a part of West Bengal.”
With the state government proving a hard nut to crack and using every option at its disposal to crush the ongoing movement, the
GJM is desperately seeking central government intervention to come to some sort of a solution.
“The Union government must look at our agitation for a separate state positively. This (statehood) demand needs a political solution and the central government must intervene as it is not a state government matter anymore,” said Gurung.
The GJM chief has already said he would not sit for talks with the state government under the present circumstances given the arrest of more than 800 party activists and leaders including Gorkhaland Territorial Administration sabhasads in raids since July 29.
The party has also said it would attend the GTA meeting on September 4 provided each of the arrested persons is released. But observers believe this condition is unlikely to be accepted by the state government as it will not want to portray itself as having succumbed to the GJM’s strong arm tactics.
Although Governor MK Narayanan has said he would readily mediate between the state government and GJM to end the present impasse, the latter has shown little interest given the governor’s unambiguous assertion that Bengal’s borders will continue to extend from the ocean to the mountains. Despite this, the GJM has said it would convene a meeting to discuss Narayanan’s offer to mediate.
Under the present scenario, it will be interesting to see what role the central government plays as also the part chief minister Mamata Banerjee enacts, who, until now, has refused to buckle down even as the GJM has declared it would intensify its agitation going forward.
Meanwhile a news report suggests that GJM leadership is softening its stand on statehood and warming to the idea of a Union Territory status!
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