Fissures appear in GNLF over support to BJP
Darjeeling: Discontent and confusion has surfaced in GNLF over support to the BJP candidate in the Darjeeling constituency. GNLF leaders in Kalimpong have set a precondition to the BJP in lieu of their support.
GNLF steering committee member Maurice Kalikotey and other GNLF leaders held a meeting in this regard on Thursday. Later, while talking to media persons, Kalikotey stated that the leaders were compelled to call a meeting as there was constant pressure from the rank and file of the party, demanding answers behind the sudden support to the BJP.
"It was resolved in Thursday's meeting that if the BJP comes to power in the Centre, they will pass the 6th Schedule Bill in the very first session of the Parliament. This has to be incorporated in the national manifesto (not state or regional). Then only will we support them," stated Kalikotey.
When questioned on the scenario where the BJP fails to do the same, Kalikotey stated that there would be a similar meeting to chart the future course of action.
Avoiding questions on whether the GNLF is in for a split, Kalikotey said: "Our late supremo Subash Ghising had made the demand for the inclusion of the Darjeeling Hills in the 6th Schedule. A memorandum of settlement was also signed with the government in 2005. It is our responsibility to ensure that his aspiration is fulfilled. We will go at it irrespective of support from other leaders."
The GNLF president and spokesperson were not available for comment. It may be mentioned that the GNLF has forged an alliance with bête noire Bimal Gurung and his men. Together, they have extended support to the BJP and the NDA.
Incidentally, Gurung, who was a close confidant of Subash Ghising, had ousted him and the GNLF form the Hills in 2007 over the 6th Schedule issue. Following political unrest in the Hills in 2017 which culminated in a 105 day long bandh, Gurung, who has been charged in multiple cases, has been absconding.