Kolkata, June 28: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) would decide Saturday on whether the party would take part in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) polls to be held July 29, a top leader said after meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here.
“We will decide whether to participate or not after our core committee meeting in Darjeeling on Saturday,” GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said.
Conceding that there were intense debates and heated exchanges at the meeting, Gurung said the GJM was not bothered about what other political parties would do.
“We are representatives of the people, I don’t talk like a politician. In a democracy, everybody has the right to participate. Today, madam chief minister has asked us to submit written complaints about the area demarcation committee report. We have full faith in the fact-finding committee,” he said.
Nominations for the polls to the GTA – the proposed new development agency in the northern hills of West Bengal – can be filed till July 9, according to a state government notification.
The three picturesque Darjeeling hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseyong and Kalimpong have been on the boil for nearly three decades due to anti-government protests over the Gorkhaland demand. The hills had witnessed killings, police crackdowns and long shutdowns which severely impacted the hills’ economic mainstays – tea, timber and tourism.
On July 18 last year, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA, a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor –the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.
The state government has decided to form a three-member fact verification panel to look into the recommendations of a high-powered committee on the issue of area demarcation in the proposed GTA.