“India is still a democratic country and people have the freedom to choose the hospital they want to get treated in,” Mr Raju Bista said.
The general secretary of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung camp), Roshan Giri, today claimed that the central government was not in favour of forming a separate state of Gorkhaland right now and that they should now be practical and focus on what can materialise during talks with the government.
Even while he said this, Mr Giri added that they took up the issue of a Permanent Political Solution (PPS) with state government ministers, which they meant was either Gorkhaland, UT or 244-A, the Article that allows for creation of an ‘autonomous state’ within Assam in certain tribal areas.
“The government is not in favour of granting Gorkhaland. Bodoland Territorial Region, the highest form of autonomy, was given to that area when the BJP was in the state and the Centre in Assam, The situation here is not like that, with the TMC in the state and the BJP at the Centre. We cannot go for agitations only, but should be practical too,” said Mr Giri, adding that they should think on the lines as to what could materialise during talks with the government.
“If there is a political will of the government, then Gorkhaland is possible, as people’s aspirations are the biggest thing in a democracy. However, it seems that the sentiments of the people are not respected by the government,” he added.
On the other hand, speaking on their three-member delegation that met state ministers in the past few days in Kolkata, Mr Giri said, “We have raised the issue of PPS for the Hills, Terai and Dooars, along with other issues pertaining to the Hills. AITC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee has said he will take up the matter with the Bengal CM.”
“We will try to meet Mamata Banerjee in out next visit and take up that issue with her, as last year in December, she had said that she was the only one who could give us a PPS. We want tripartite talks to be held for it, with all stakeholders invited,” Mr Giri said, adding that such a meeting was held only once in the past, with the state, however, not participating in it.
According to Mr Giri, though they have kept options like Gorkhaland, UT and 244A for the proposed PPS, in the end it will all depend on what happens in the talks. Among the issues taken up by their delegation with state leaders were demands for three-tier panchayat elections, daily wage of Municipality workers and education-related issues, Mr Giri said.
He also took a jibe at Kalimpong MLA Ruden Sada Lepcha and said that instead of addressing a press conference after coming back from the Budget Session, he should have spoken in the Bengal Assembly, as nothing for the GTA was announced this time around.