Darjeeling, Nov. 10: The ABGL is contemplating forming a new front in support of Gorkhaland by organising a meeting of “all political parties and intellectuals across Bengal”.
“We plan to organise a meeting on the lines of the All Party Hill Leader’s Conference that had been chaired by Capt. William Sangma in Shillong in 1971 before carving Meghalaya (out of Assam),” said Madan Tamang, the ABGL president, today.
The proposed meeting is likely to be held here at the end of the month.
“However, the parties will have to adopt a resolution, even if at the district-level, before participating in the meeting,” said Tamang.
The ABGL leader said all political parties from the hills also would be invited. “If the CPM, too, adopts a resolution in favour of Gorkhaland, it will be welcomed,” said Tamang and added that he was not eager to lead the front, a clear roadmap for which is yet to emerge.
“Many intellectuals in Calcutta are in support of Gorkhaland. They have expressed their willingness to attend the meet. However, we will lay a stress on achieving Gorkhaland through democratic means,” Tamang added.
Asked about the fate of the People’s Democratic Front, an anti-GNLF forum that was headed by Tamang, the ABGL leader said the coalition was “not defunct but is merely maintaining a low profile”.
“At one point, there was an indication that even the new party (the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) would be a forum only. However, they registered with the Election Commission as a political outfit,” said Tamang.
Observers, however, believe that the success of the new front will largely depend on the Morcha response as it still enjoys the support of the majority of the hill people. Given the animosity between Bimal Gurung’s party and the ABGL, the prospects of a new front look bleak.
Today, the student wing of the Morcha brought out a rally against Tamang.
The students, mainly from schools, had come to attend a meeting called by the Morcha.
Tamang criticised B.B. Gooroong, the political adviser to the Sikkim chief minister, for his comments against some “hill parties” at a book release programme yesterday.
“If Gooroong is concerned about the hill problems, Sikkim should claim Darjeeling as its own for the hills originally belong to the Himalayan kingdom. The ABGL has been passing a resolution on the merger of Darjeeling and Sikkim since 1943,” said Tamang. (The Telegraph)