New hill party raises state cry

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, Dec. 21: A new party has been floated with the Gorkhaland slogan at a time the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is trying desperately to negotiate with the Centre and the state a two year set-up in the hills.

Former Kalimpong branch committee president of the GNLF, Dawa Pakhrin, has floated the Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha in New Delhi and has started mobilising public support in the capital.

The development is an indication that the Gorkhaland issue will continue to bother the state and the Centre even if the interim set-up is put in place in the coming days.

“I am very happy that we received an overwhelming support from the Gorkhas in the capital,” Pakhrin said over phone from Delhi. The Nirman Morcha participated in a dharna, organised by the Federation of Smaller States, on the Rajghat premises yesterday.

“Demand for smaller states like Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand, Purbanchal, Vidarbha and other new states were raised at the dharna,” said Pakhrin. The Nirman Morcha has threatened to gherao the Assembly (building) before the elections if no concrete steps are taken by the state government to form Gorkhaland. “We are chalking out the details,” he said.

The former GNLF leader, who severed ties with Subash Ghisingh early this year and returned to the hills a few months back, opposed both the interim set-up, and the Sixth Schedule status demanded by Ghisingh. “The demand for Telangana is moving in the right direction. They never compromised despite facing much hardship and they neither had to settle for an interim set-up or the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution,” said Pakhrin.

The former GNLF leader said his party had already started mobilising public support for Gorkhaland at the grassroots level. “We are working with the grassroots at the moment after which we will start holding public meetings and rallies,” he added.

Pakhrin had considerable following in Kalimpong subdivision, something that is reflected in the manner in which he mobilised support for his new party even when the Morcha holds sway in the hills. “Gorkhaland is an emotive issue and will always find takers. The biggest challenge for Pakhrin now is to completely disassociate himself from his public image as a former GNLF heavyweight who did not actively raise the statehood demand for 21 years when it suited his interests,” said an observer.

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