Header Ads

New GNLF chief thanks people for support in bereavement

DARJEELING : Mann Ghising, the younger son of Gorkha National Liberation Front founder Subas Ghising who died on January 29, on Monday took formal charge of office as the new party president by issuing his first press statement thanking everyone for extending their support in this hour of bereavement. Mann, who is erroneously called ‘Mohan’, was anointed the party president on January 30, the day after his father expired, by the GNLF central committee. However, he chose not to speak about his elevation saying it would be decided later, and this was announced today through a written statement issued to the media in Darjeeling. The GNLF chief’s first statement, written in the party’s official letter-head, thanked supporters, people and business establishments for observing spontaneous bandhs on two days (January 31 and February 1) as a mark of respect for his father. The statement in Nepali also thanked regional and national parties for showing respect to his father by sending their representatives including Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling who personally went to Ghisingh’s house on Sunday morning to pay his last respects. 

The new GNLF president’s first public statement is in stark contrast to the zeal and enthusiasm shown by party supporters in Darjeeling who gave a political undertone to Ghisingh’s funeral procession. They chanted: “Sixth Schedule lai saath deu…GTA lai laat deu” (Support Sixth Schedule and kick out GTA). “Pahar ko bhagya bigarnu paudaina…hamilai jhattai DGHC pharkai deu” (no one can ruin the future of the hills…reinstate the DGHC immediately). The slogans hardly concealed the fact that they were meant for the ruling Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which runs the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. However, senior GNLF leaders brushed aside any speculation that their new president had no political ambitions. “He (Mann) is yet to get over the loss of his father. Besides, the family is in mourning and special religious rituals will continue for some more days. Once the mourning period is over, we are sure he will be motivated politically,” said a senior GNLF leader from Darjeeling not wanting to be named. 

The GNLF’s key demand is to revive the defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council as it has constitutional guarantee until the Sixth Schedule status is granted to the Darjeeling hills. In 2001, Ghisingh had demanded the Centre to grant Sixth Schedule status to the Darjeeling hills. And in December 2005, a Memorandum of Settlement was signed between the state and central governments and the GNLF. The Sixth Schedule bill was placed in Parliament in November 2007 by then Union home minister Shivraj Patil. However, it had to be referred to the parliamentary standing committee after the GJM opposed the bill and started an agitation. The bill was eventually shelved in February 2008. 

Powered by Blogger.