The President of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Mann Ghisingh, today said his party has placed in front of central BJP leaders its stand on having the promised ‘permanent political solution’ for the Hills before the Assembly elections in the state in 2021.

Upon his return from New Delhi at the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, Mr Ghisingh said he met ‘central leaders’ in the national capital and urged them to make good on their promises this time around. “Assurances won’t work this time, as expectations in the Hills are high. The central government has to take concrete steps… The BJP cannot hoodwink the people now or play the 2021 Assembly poll politics,” he said at the airport.

Mr Ghisingh was accompanied by another party leader Mahendra Chhetri. The GNLF leaders’ trip to Delhi and the statements come amid claims from the Bimal Gurung camp that Home Minister Amit Saha has on 21 July assured tripartite talks to discuss Hill issues within a fortnight.

There have also been calls from leaders and common people for the BJP to fulfil promises it has made in the past three general elections, which it has won in the Darjeeling constituency. Also, a purported union Home Ministry letter about holding talks to review the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration instead drove a section of the Hill people up the wall today.

On the ‘permanent political solution,’ Mr Ghisingh said that it is up to the Centre to decide on what it will exactly be like. “We have put forth our stand, now it is for the Centre to decide what the solution will be. We will wait and watch, even though time is running out now,” he said.

Mr Chhetri, on the other hand, said no one has spelt out what the ‘permanent political solution’ would be, and that the Centre has the expertise to decide on it. “The Centre has the resources, Constitutional experts, legal experts. Let them do the work and tell us what they have come up with. If that is something we can agree on, we will, if not, we will reject it,” he said.

Asked what his party’s stand would be if the BJP yet again failed to deliver, Mr Ghisingh said it was too early to say anything on that. “If that happens, we, political parties, are there, but we will have to see the public’s reaction and go by it,” he said.

According to the GNLF leaders, they will now remain in home isolation in Darjeeling as Delhi is a high-burden area, and that they do not want to take risks or expose others to Covid-19 risk.