Millennium Post

Bishta sets 5-yr time limit to look into statehood demand

Darjeeling: "In the next five years we will hand out the permanent political solution. That's it," said Raju Bishta, the BJP MP from the Darjeeling constituency. Bishta returned to the Darjeeling Hills on Wednesday and held a meeting with the BJP allies in the Hills.

The issue of Gorkhaland cropped up during the MP's press conference. There has been media reports that BJP leader Mukul Roy has clearly ruled out bifurcation of West Bengal. Bishta is supposed to have been present when Mukul Roy had stated this. When questioned on this, Bishta stated that Mukul Roy had not made any such statement and it had been concocted by a section of the media. When questioned on whether the BJP supports the Gorkhaland demand, Bishta said: "Don't use the word Gorkhaland. We will work out a permanent political solution in five years. That's it." When questioned on what the permanent political solution would be, Bishta stated: "We will not reveal what the political solution will be now. The elections have just ended. Wait and watch."

The BJPs stand on the GTA has not been clear. While in the past they have been demanding the dissolution of the GTA, on Tuesday Bishta talking to media persons had demanded immediate elections to the GTA.

When questioned on this, Bishta's explanation was sketchy. "Whenever we ask the West Bengal government to call tripartite talks they avoid it stating that the mandate and the GTA are with the state government. Now that the overwhelming mandate is with us post elections we want the GTA elections to be held so that we can prove out mandate in the GTA also," stated the MP.

He, however, stated that in the meeting with the Hill alliance parties it was decided that the GTA should be dissolved in moral grounds. Incidentally the GJM (Binay faction) has been stepping up pressure on the BJP stating that the BJP has to live up to its commitment of Gorkhaland. They have stated that the people of the Hills have given an overwhelming mandate for Gorkhaland and that it is high time the BJP initiate the process for the creation of Gorkhaland. The GJM recently engaged on widespread postering in support of the separate state demand.

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