Millennium Post

Now, time to go to work

Only last month it looked that the beautiful hills of North Bengal will be hurling back to the days of agitation and unrest when the Shyamal Sen committee report, which was set up at the behest of all the parties with stakes in North Bengal, made little room for the political aspirations of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the extent and scope of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). The report gave just 5 moujas to GJM against an expectation of about 150 and the shocked GJM threatened to resume agitations after two years of uninterrupted peace in the hills.

Now, the GJM looks all set to get control of GTA two weeks before the elections as it is clear that it would win 28 of the seats unopposed, more than half of the total 45. GJM’s triumph was ensured when the CPI(M) last week withdrew the last five candidates from contesting the polls (nine candidates were withdrawn before). By withdrawing all its candidates the left party has literally dissociated itself from the GTA, which goes to polls on 29 July. For the rest 17, the Trinamool Congress has, on paper, fielded candidates but it is likely that they have been fielded to keep the elections going rather than taking on the GJM seriously. The GJM has obviously welcomed CPM's decision to stay out of GTA, thanking the CPM of putting peace and stability in the region before its own political gains.

Though unhappy with TMC’s participation, the GJM is not taking its candidature seriously. And taking a step ahead, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has already congratulated the GJM for taking control of the GTA democratically and assured all support in bringing peace and stability to the region.

Darjeeling has seen record tourism business in the last two years and those who control the political stakes of the region have been re-assured that they cannot proceed to any political future by ignoring the region’s economic interest and potential. GJM, which claimed to have seemingly found itself at a dead end after they were denied any muscle in Shyamal Sen Committee report, has, at the request of Mamata Banerjee, shown the required political sincerity and goodwill to withdraw from agitation and gain a democratic foothold in the region. The GTA ensures the foothold. And among the three prominent parties too, the equation that the Bimal Gurung-led GJM would control of GTA is settled.

This is indeed good time to finally turn towards the real issues in the region. Control of GTA would mean access to lot of funds and aid for the region which the GJM should make every use of. The GJM had repeatedly accused the last Left government of making only empty promises about peace in the hills. The new government has moved sharply on the GTA and now that the stakes are settled, it is time that the GJM starts delivering on its own promises to its people.
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