Apart from Telangana,the scope of granting Union territory status to Gorkhaland region may be also discussed at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Tuesday with the party leadership mindful that a decision on Andhra Pradesh alone has potential of fresh unrest in the Darjeeling hills.
The issue came up during talks that senior CWC members like Digvijaya Singh,Ambika Soni,C P Joshi and Ajay Maken had with a visiting Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation,led by its general secretary Roshan Giri,here last week. It was also raised in meetings between Defence Minister A K Antony and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and the delegation. Maken,too,is not unaware of the issue as it was raised in the tripartite talks between the Centre,West Bengal government and the GJM,which he headed on behalf of the Central government.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung told The Indian Express on Monday that his party was firm on statehood demand and any proposal on UT status can be given due consideration once there is a definite proposal by the Centre. Gurung,however,indicated that any decision by the Centre on creating new states without Gorkhaland would lead to unrest in Darjeeling and adjoining Terai areas,rendering the two-year-old Gorkhaland Territorial Authority defunct. I will be the first to resign as the head of the GTA immediately if any decision on new states is taken without considering the sentiments of lakhs of Gorkhas, he said.
Gurung and his party will be under immense pressure should the Centre take a decision on Telangana alone with his options reverting to taking the path of agitation once again.
The GTA was set up in 2011 following two years of talks between the Centre,Bengal government and GJM though the latter insisted on including a clause in the agreement that it would retain the right to raise the issue of statehood,suggesting that the GTA was an experimental arrangement. He added that he would be be announcing fresh agitation in coming days if the Centre rejected the demand of statehood for Gorkhaland. A three-day bandh called by Gurung began on Monday,shutting the hills completely.
The GJM wrote to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other senior functionaries on Monday stating that the GTA has been an unsuccessful model in fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Darjeeling.