Mamta stumped, she can’t have a new GTA chief!

DARJEELING: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee is furious because the guys demanding Gorkhaland refused to play ball with her. She won’t agree to even talk about Gorkhaland and the Gorkha Janmukti morcha chaps won’t talk of anything but Gorkhaland.

After a glimmer of hope on Tuesday, the Darjeeling deadlock only stiffened on Wednesday with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha virtually boycotting the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) meeting and a livid chief minister ordering the administration to take “strong action” against the Morcha.

Mamata was furious at the snub since she had appealed to the Morcha to attend the meeting. Sources say the government will now toughen its stance against the Gorkhaland movement.

After the Centre’s call for tripartite talks on Gorkhaland on Tuesday, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung had said they would participate in the GTA meeting but stay out of the election for the GTA chief executive. Only two GTA members turned up for the meeting, scheduled for noon on Wednesday.

The single point agenda for the meeting was to elect a new chief executive — a post that fell vacant after Gurung resigned on July 30 to launch the statehood agitation. GTA chairman Bhupendra Pradhan, deputy chairman Lopsang Yolmo and principal secretary R D Meena were the only ones present. All the 45 elected GTA sabhasads are from the Morcha — 10 of them have been arrested since the agitation started. Although Gurung has been saying that GTA has lost all relevance, it is not withdrawing its members from the body, attracting criticism from other Hills parties.

Pradhan and Yolmo submitted a resolution to Meena that the GTA meeting could not be held as the quorum — a third of the elected members — could not be met. “We received a petition signed by 29 sabhasads that the new chief executive could well be from among the 10 behind bars. Till all charges against them are dropped and they are released, a GTA meeting to elect a new chief cannot be held,” he told reporters.

Meena said he was forwarding the resolution to the state government. “It is now up to the government to decide what to do,” said Meena.

It is learnt that Mamata was in Siliguri when news of the Morcha’s boycott came in and she was furious. Sources say she asked senior officials who were with her — including the chief secretary and home secretary — to take strong action against the Morcha. The CM is determined to initiate some development projects through the GTA and has asked her officials to draw up some plans immediately. She wants the ongoing shutdown to be foiled, but without complicating the situation.

There was a lot of speculation on Wednesday that the Morcha would lift the bandh, especially after the Centre’s proposed intervention, but there was no such announcement, disappointing lakhs of Hills residents who have been suffering for a month due to the shutdown. Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had appealed to the Morcha delegation that called on him in Delhi on Tuesday to lift the bandh but it does not seem to have had any effect.

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Posted by on September 5, 2013. Filed under Bengal,Breaking News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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