Morcha at Shinde door

The Telegraph

VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, July 23: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Roshan Giri said the hill party team he led told Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that the outfit would be forced to start an agitation if Gorkhaland was not created along with Telangana.

“We have clearly told the Union home minister that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would immediately start an agitation if Gorkhaland is not created when Telangana is formed. We have told the minister that we have no other choice left,” said Giri, who led a team of six to Delhi.

The Morcha delegation met Shinde at his office in North Block today.

“After meeting the home minister, we also met the defence minister at his South Block office today. We reiterated our stand to A.K. Anthony and also told him about the contributions the Gorkhas have made in guarding the country’s frontiers,” Giri said.

Back in Darjeeling, observers said the party was under pressure to do something as it would be tough to answer to the people if Telangana was allowed statehood and Gorkhaland was not.

“The Morcha, which is increasingly under pressure, has no other option but to leave the GTA if Telangana is created. The Morcha is also under tremendous pressure from the Opposition who are trying to generate public opinion against the Morcha for being unable to achieve statehood,” an observer said.

Recently, Morcha rival ABGL supported the candidature of Mahendra Lama for the Darjeeling Lok sabha seat on the ground that Lama was a pro-statehood face.

Giri today said both the Union ministers told the delegation that the Congress would discuss the issue of Gorkhaland. “We have been assured that our demand will be discussed by the Congress,” said Giri.

The six-member Morcha delegation includes three hill MLAs — Trilok Dewan, Rohit Sharma and Harka Bahadur Chhetri — as will as Darjeeling civic chief Amar Singh Rai and central committee member D.K. Pradhan.

The Morcha’s students’ wing, the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha, today held a meeting in Darjeeling.

Deep Thapa, the vice-president of the student’s front, said: “We have written a letter to our leader, Bimal Gurung, to step down as the chief executive of the GTA and start the statehood agitation.”

Thapa also said the students’ body had resolved not to allow the party to accept any other alternative administrative set-up similar to the GTA in the future.

The Vidyarthi Morcha’s decision comes days after the party’s youth front, the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, decided to start a Gorkhaland agitation with a series of public meetings in the hills.

The Yuva Morcha had demanded the desolution of the GTA.

“We will not make any announcements regarding our programmes. It will be a sudden affair. We will refrain from undemocratic movements,” said Sandip Chhetri, publicity secretary of the students’ union.

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