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MP SS Ahluwalia gets hero’s welcome in Darjeeling

Darjeeling : Flush with the victory of the BJP both in Darjeeling and at the Centre, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung warned the state government against undue interference in the functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Addressing supporters gathered at Chowrastha to celebrate the election win and welcome Darjeeling MP Surendra Singh Ahluwalia, the GJM president said, “The state government keeps interfering and this must stop immediately. There is a GTA agreement and law in place that are above the state government and they must be respected. Our MP is also a reputed lawyer. We will move court if the state government does not stop creating problems.” Gurung was responding to the hill Trinamool Congress’ allegation that the GTA was mired in nepotism. “I cannot go down to Siliguri and interfere in the working of the North Bengal Development Department. 

Likewise, the GTA has the right of autonomy and must be consulted for any matter pertaining to the hills,” he asserted. Reiterating his allegations against the state government for using official machinery to malign the GJM for its political gains, the GJM chief said, “The district magistrate and the superintendent of police are working on the behest of the state government. TMC cadres in the hills are creating trouble and intimidating people. In fact, the state government is conspiring to implicate me in false and fabricated cases.” Gurung also commented on the ongoing controversy in Jamuney, where the GTA is developing a tourist hub. “The district magistrate is politicising the issue and misguiding some people. But I want to remind everyone that the project in Jamuney is not my personal property. It is being developed for the people to ensure a sustainable future for the youths of the area,” he said. Congratulating Ahluwalia for getting a huge mandate, the GJM president appealed to him to fulfill his promises and ensure the hill people get justice. “We have remained suppressed in Bengal since decades. 

The state government’s attitude towards us is not sincere. Now with Mr Ahluwalia representing us, he must work towards providing us justice and remaining as the bridge between the state and central governments,” said Gurung, adding he would continue to struggle for the “ultimate” demand of the people even if that meant sacrificing his life. “We have done all we could here. Now, all programmes will be focused in Delhi as that is the place where things happen. And we have Mr Ahluwalia and the BJP to help us,” he said, and appealed to opposition parties and associations to work together in the next five years to develop the hills. Ahluwalia meanwhile, who could not stop himself from shaking a leg to the tune of the victory song, thanked the people for making him their representative and pledged to make every effort to fulfill his responsibilities. “I am overwhelmed and thank everyone who voted for me. Instead of just talking, I will try to fulfill all the promises my party has made,” said the MP. 

 The BJP leader blamed the TMC-led state government for not permitting victory celebrations. “Darjeeling was a seat of prestige for the TMC, but the party could not wrest it. This was the main reason why the state government barred victory celebrations for 72 hours on May 16 after the announcement of the results. We were not granted permission for a programme in Siliguri on June 18,” said Ahluwalia. The GJM has plans to hold similar victory celebrations in Mirik, Kalimpong and Kurseong later this week.

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