STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 4 September
Ridiculing the ruling party&’s brag of having alienated the GJMM from the Hill people by brandishing development as a counterfoil to statehood-related shutdowns, several leaders today claimed that the reverse has just happened. The chief minister&’s anti-statehood rhetoric has further boosted the morale of the statehood movement, claimed the leaders of the pro-statehood parties and outfits other than the GJMM.
The Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Mancha president, Mr Dawa Pakhrin, who has left Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee a few days ago, said: “I respect Mamata Banerjee for her pro-people crusade. But her yesterday&’s speech and her cavalier handling of the sensitive tangle has negatively dented her image. She has rather inadvertently consolidated the unity among the communities over the issue of Gorkhaland. We all were hurt by her taking recourse to divide-and-rule strategy to weaken the movement for Gorkhaland,” he said.
“Though I am not now with the GJAC, I am extending support to its movement. I welcome the GJMM&’s decision not to attend today&’s GTA meeting. I again state that the tripartite meeting the Centre is to convene would not yield any result unless the issue of statehood figures prominently there,” he added.
A senior CPRM leader, Mr Gobin Chhetri, said the chief minister wants to create history without understanding the tangled nuances involved in history.
“The people of the Hills have not taken kindly to her misguided effort to conjure up fissures along ethnic lines to weaken the momentum of the statehood movement,” he said.
“My party is convinced that a tripartite meeting held on an agenda sans the issue of Gorkhaland would come a cropper,” he added.
The GJAC chairman, Mr Enos Das Pradhan, said the chief minister has
inadvertently strengthened their resolve to fight to the last. “This is evident in thousands of people taking part in today&’s Kalimpong rally. Over 30,000 people assembled at Kalimpong Mela Ground to nail the lie of the chief minister&’s boast. The number would increase in the coming days. We would not budge an inch from our demand for Gorkhaland and the tripartite meeting must focus itself on it ~ the single agenda of the people,” Mr Pradhan said.