Bimal Gurung urges Mamata Banerjee to hold GTA polls

Kolkata: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supremo Bimal Gurung has requested West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to defer the GTA poll until the memorandum of proposals submitted by the party is implemented in the hills.

The West Bengal government has decided to hold election for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous body to administer Darjeeling hills, in June this year.

The body was formed in 2011 and the last election to it was held in 2012.

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In a letter to Banerjee, Gurung requested her “to put the GTA election in abeyance till the Memorandum of Proposal (MoP) submitted by the party to government is implemented”.

“I would request you to kindly call for bilateral talks for resolution of Memorandum of Proposal submitted by us before holding any further elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) when such elections could be deferred since 2017 till today,” he said.

A GJM delegation had submitted the MoP to the state government last week.

According to GJM sources, the MoP says that the memorandum of agreement that was signed in 2011 should be honoured in letter and spirit.

The MoP also includes transfers of the rest of the departments to the GTA and the inclusion of 396 Gorkha mouzas as per the procedure laid down in the memorandum of agreement.

However, Gurung’s political rivals in the hills claim that this is a ploy by GJM to delay the polls so that it can buy time to recover its lost ground in the hills.

“GJM has lost much of its ground to the Hamro party in the hills, which recently won Darjeeling Municipality elections. They want to buy some time,” a senior leader of the opposition BJP said.

Footballer Bhaichung Bhutia founded the Hamro party in May, 2018.

There are 45 elected members in the GTA Sabha and five others are nominated by the West Bengal governor.

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