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Amid pressure on Bista, GNLF plans Delhi meet

“The people here have given everything to the BJP, with the GNLF also giving away its winning seats during the elections. We are all hopeful that the BJP will do something for us. Now the ball is in their court and the time has come for them to fulfil the aspirations of the people,”

Reza Pradhan | Darjeeling |

Amid mounting pressure from some political parties on Darjeeling MP Raju Bista to raise the demand for a Permanent Political Solution (PPS) in Parliament, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is preparing the ground for a meeting with central BJP leaders on the issue.

According to GNLF leader Ajoy Edwards, he would leave for Delhi within a week to try and set up a meeting of its alliance partners and representatives from the civil society with senior leaders of the BJP. Mr Edwards also said that the BJP should “forget Darjeeling Hills” if what the party has promised is not fulfilled during the tenure of Mr Bista.

“The people here have given everything to the BJP, with the GNLF also giving away its winning seats during the elections. We are all hopeful that the BJP will do something for us. Now the ball is in their court and the time has come for them to fulfil the aspirations of the people,”

Mr Edwards said here today. “We have no enmity with the state government, but it cannot address our issues, as it is not under its jurisdiction, which is why it makes sense to tie up with Delhi to have our demands met,” he added. Political parties here have been mounting pressure on BJP MP Raju Bista to introduce a Bill for a PPS, something that the BJP has promised, in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

While the All India Gorkha League (Bharati Tamang faction) has announced a dharna from 1 August, the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha-I led by Bimal Gurung has put up posters in the Hills, about the demand. Both the parties are maintaining that Mr Bista should resign if he failed to take up the matter at the Centre.

“It is their democratic right to create pressure, but whatever they do, it should be peaceful in nature,” Mr Edwards said. “If what the BJP has promised is not fulfilled during the tenure of Mr Bista, then they (BJP) should forget Darjeeling Hills,” he added.

Speaking on the issue of tribal status for several Gorkha communities, Mr Edwards said, “This issue is different than that of Arunachal Pradesh, with there being some complications. However, it is not impossible, and we have been working on it.”