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Bimal Gurung to focus on statehood achievement in next 5 years

Darjeeling : After the thumping win by its ally the BJP, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is now focusing its guns toward Delhi to realise the “long pending” demand for statehood over the next five years, if not immediately. It has also appealed to all stakeholders concerned to work together to achieve statehood. GJM president Bimal Gurung today said he intends to expedite the statehood demand now that a party inclined towards acceding to such a wish is all set to form government at the Centre. “Our goal has always been a separate state. We will not rest on our election laurels, but utilise the next five years to accelerate the statehood demand given the sympathetic dispensation in New Delhi,” he said at the GJM Patleybas party office near Darjeeling town. Gurung also urged all opposition parties in the hills to forget differences and work together to achieve the statehood demand. “I don’t believe in vindictive politics. There should not be bloodshed amongst our own brothers and sisters. Now that the time is right, I appeal to all parties here to focus and work for a separate state instead of indulging in petty politics,” he said. 

The GJM president, however, did not include the Trinamool Congress and the Gorkha National Liberation Front in his appeal as he said these two parties are against a separate state. “We have shown everyone the GJM is the undisputed party in the hills in spite of many adversities we had to face. We will focus all our energies and strategies towards Delhi as that is the place where things happen. We will also ask all opposition parties to join hands with us to achieve our goal, which would be a fitting reply to our detractors,” said Gurung. BJP candidate SS Ahluwalia won from the Darjeeling constituency with a thumping margin of 1,99,829 votes over his nearest rival Bhaichung Bhutia of the TMC, which has definitely dented Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s prestige. The BJP, as part of a pre-arranged agreement, has also included the statehood demand in its election manifesto. On his ties with the state government going forward, especially with Banerjee, the GJM chief said, “We (the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) will continue to work for the benefit of the people in tandem with the state government, even though the latter has neither given us funds nor started any development work as promised. 

Another fact that needs highlighting is that the chief minister comes to the Darjeeling hills only to divide the communities living here and create problems. But we will measure her attitude and actions assiduously including that of the state government and work accordingly,” asserted Gurung, adding all development works being presently undertaken in the hills have been initiated from the Rs200-crore special package handed out by the central government. The GJM president said he will definitely attend Ahluwalia’s oath-taking ceremony in the national capital. “I will be going to Delhi to attend the oath-taking ceremony with the hope our candidate (Ahluwalia) is given a cabinet portfolio as this would augur well for our cause,” said Gurung. After Gurung returns from Delhi, the GJM has plans to welcome Ahluwalia by holding victory rallies and celebratory programmes in the three sub-divisions of the hills as well as in the plains where the BJP leader secured impressive vote counts.

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