Siliguri (West Bengal) : Making his first public appearance in about a year, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chief Subash Ghising Sunday criticised the rival Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) for deciding to support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Darjeeling.
“The BJP can never get Gorkhland for the hill people, for whom the separate state demand is a very emotional issue,” he said, attacking the GJM for its decision to support BJP leader Jaswant Singh for the Darjeeling seat.
Ghising said he was consulting his colleagues on whether the GNLF will put up a candidate or extend support to some other outfit. “We will spell out our decision in a day or two. We will definitely play a role”.
The GNLF chief claimed there was a lot of resentment among the GJM ranks and many of its workers were returning to the GNLF, which was all-powerful in northern West Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills for years till the emergence of the GJM early 2008.
The GNLF had organised its first rally in about a year at the Panighata area near Naxalbari of Kurseong sub-division Friday. A few hundred GNLF workers and its local level leaders took part in the rally.
However, the GJM got a shot in the arm when two of its allies veered around to supporting Jaswant Singh’s candidature after initial opposition.
The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM), which had expressed unhappiness at the GJM’s unilateral decision Friday, said it has decided to support Jaswant Singh.
“We welcome him. His presence will help us achieve our goal of Gorkhaland,” said CPRM central committee member I.K. Sharma.
GJM press and publicity secretary Benoy Tamang claimed that the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) had also decided to support the BJP candidate.
The GJM, leading the movement for Gorkhaland – a separate state to be formed out of Darjeeling and the foothills of the Himalayas that are now a part of West Bengal – is all set to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after the BJP agreed to sympathetically consider the demand.
The GNLF ran the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) for years, before the GJM upstaged it and then used strong-arm tactics to force Ghising out of the hills.
Since the 1990s, the Darjeeling seat has been won by the party that secures the backing of the dominant outfit in the hills.
Till the 2004 general elections, the GNLF was the determining factor in the seat. But this time the GJM’s backing is likely to make the BJP’s Jaswant Singh a formidable candidate in the constituency.