Leader of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) Ajoy Edwards has claimed that the BJP has committed to ‘repeal’ the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) within 48 hours if it forms a government in West Bengal.
Edwards, who is the GNLF Darjeeling sub-division unit president, was speaking in a meeting at Sonada near Darjeeling town yesterday.
“We have had a lot of discussions with the BJP, all of which we cannot divulge right now. However, they have committed that if they come to power in Bengal, the GTA will be removed within 48 hours,” Edwards said.
The GNLF, which is in alliance with the BJP, has been demanding that the GTA be removed as it had been rejected by the people.
The GNLF claim comes amid discontentment in the Hills when it comes to the BJP, which is accused of not keeping its promises even after the region helped the party win three consecutive parliamentary elections. Prominent among the promises made by the BJP include a ‘Permanent Political Solution’ for the Hill political problem and granting of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha communities.
“I want to tell people that this time in the Bidhan Sabha elections, if people vote for either camps of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, then they would be voting for the TMC. It would mean voting for the same GTA. People have to think if they want GTA or a Permanent Political Solution,” he said.
The GNLF leader also stressed that the GTA’s term was extended on several occasions by the state government by “appointing whoever they want it to be governed by.”
Speaking on the upcoming Assembly elections, Edwards also said, “Will a candidate be given here on a BJP ticket or a GNLF ticket is the question in everyone’s mind. Every party has a wish and the GNLF also wants to field its own candidates in the three hill seats, and the BJP might have their own thoughts. However, these are small issues and elections come and go, but what we want is to stop the numerous agitations and disturbances that take place in the Hills. For this, we want a long-term solution.”
In the last Darjeeling Assembly by-election in 2019, the BJP had fielded GNLF leader Neeraj Zimba as a BJP candidate.
Edwards also put to rest discussions going on in social medias if he or Zimba would be the party candidate for the Assembly polls.
“The final decision on the candidate will be taken by our party president and we will agree to it. I also appeal to all to support his decision,” he said.