Gurung back as GTA chief

Gurung back as GTA chief

GJM supremo termed hill council ‘necessity’,months after he said it should scrapped

GJM president Bimal Gurung Thursday took oath as the Chief Executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA),five months after he had resigned from the post to lead the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state.

Gurung took the oath in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,cabinet ministers and other leaders from the Gorkha community,at a function presided over by Governor M K Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan.

He today reached Raj Bhavan with GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and the acting chief executive of the GTA,Ramesh Alley.

“The Morcha would now concentrate on development projects. Our agenda is to complete all the projects,which were left midway after our president resigned (from GTA),” said Giri.


Gurung’s return to GTA — the hill council which he had once said should be scrapped — is seen as a political victory for Mamata,whose tough stance on the issue of Gorkhaland,forced the GJM strongman and his outfit to shelve the statehood demand for now.

In a Facebook post later in the day,Gurung,however,said the statehood demand was very much alive and termed the GTA a “necessity”.

“GTA is a necessity to empower the hill youth,create job opportunities and develop infrastructure in the region so that the proposed Gorkhaland territory does not turn into an underdeveloped region… that would destroy a generation in this period of strife and agitation,” his post reads.

He said that while the GTA will prepare the region “for statehood in terms of infrastructure development”,the GJM “would apply relentless political pressure on the central government for it (Gorkhaland).”

At a time when there is an outrage over the Telangana issue in Parliament,the GJM’s move to accept the GTA yet again has,however,put a question mark over the Gorkhaland movement. While a group of Morcha leaders flayed Gurung’s “submission”,others say it is a well-thought out strategy of GJM.

“The Morcha did not want the GTA to be run by the TMC. Had Gurung not joined,the state government would have appointed one of its leaders as the chief executive of the hill council,” said a senior central committee member of Morcha pleading anonymity.

Gurung had resigned from the post of GTA Chief Executive on July 30 after intensifying GJM agitation for Gorkhaland following the Centre’s decision to create Telangana.

The Darjeeling hills faced intense agitation with violence being the order of the day. But police crackdown on GJM supporters and dissent among the people of the hills over regular shutdowns called by Gurung forced the Morcha to back out from the stir.