Darjeeling, Feb. 29: The Gorkhaland movement in the eighties had left 1,200 people dead in the hills before Subash Ghisingh decided to head the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
Exactly 20 years later, a movement based on Gandhian philosophy, which did not lead to a single killing, has virtually forced Ghisingh to step down from his chair and has left his party, the GNLF, searching for a survival strategy.
With the Centre deciding to send the Sixth Schedule bill back to the Bengal government and the state virtually forcing Ghisingh to resign before March 10, the GNLF’s trump card has apparently been sidelined.
Deepak Gurung, the president of the Darjeeling Branch Committee of the GNLF, said: “All the three branch committees will hold a meeting and adopt a resolution regarding our future programme. The meeting will be held in a day or two.”
Dawa Pakhrin, president, GNLF Kalimpong branch committee, also spoke on similar lines.
Gurung’s statement suggests that the party is waiting for fresh instruction from Ghisingh to start its agitation which can be nothing less than a movement for Gorkhaland.
GNLF leaders had been saying at various public meetings that they would wait till the budget session for the bill to be passed, failing which they would revive the Gorkhaland agitation.
Political analysts, however, said this would not be easy as the GNLF would first have to mobilise its support base which could be difficult given the popularity of the Morcha in the hills.
Such is the mood that the GNLF leaders would have to work really hard to beat the Morcha momentum and convince the people to have faith in Ghisingh’s leadership.
“Ghisingh is definitely down now but not totally out. They have pocket areas left but if the GNLF fails to mobilise support immediately, they will find it very difficult to stage a comeback,” said an analyst.
The Morcha supporters started sensing victory ever since Ghisingh was stopped from coming back to Darjeeling after a visit to Delhi earlier in the month. Hundreds of people thronged the district magistrate’s office late in the evening shouting slogans to break the fast-unto-death.
The Morcha is also giving the GNLF little breathing space by holding rallies almost everyday in different parts of the Hills.
The GNLF, too, has started doing the same in their strongholds, but the analysts believe that it is all a bit too late for Ghisingh’s party.