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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Polls: season of consensus talks-Morcha calls ‘all-party’ meeting...Buzz on Ghisingh homecoming....ABGL for anti-Morcha candidates

Morning Headlnes:KalimNews
ABGL will place non political candidate for Bidhan Sabha Election 2011.
GJVM will organise rally on 17th March 2011.
CPI finds scarcity of eligible candidate for Kalimpong seat. It is recalled that in 2001 and 2006 CPI candidates Mohan sing Rai and Nilay Rai from Kalimpong were voted 6380 and 5580 votes respectively.
Polls: season of consensus talks-Morcha calls ‘all-party’ meeting
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March 15: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has invited other hill parties for a meeting on March 18 to work out a strategy for the coming Assembly elections.
The Morcha is believed to have called the meeting to reach on a consensus on the candidates for the three hill seats and show the public that it is sincere about achieving Gorkhaland.
D.K. Pradhan, the convener of the Morcha’s election observation cell, has stated in the letter sent to the parties that the meeting is being called to hold a “frank and open” discussion on the polls.
“We would like to invite the president and secretary of your party to hold a frank and open discussion on the coming Assembly elections and to develop a strategy at a meeting to be organised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha at Darjeeling Gymkhana Hall on March 18,” reads the letter.
Insiders in the Morcha said the party was exploring the possibility of fielding common candidates with the support of other outfits in at least Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong seats. “We (Morcha) are confident of victory in the three seats. But we want to bring all the parties on board to choose candidates so that we can show the rest of Bengal that the hills are united for the cause of Gorkhaland,” said a Morcha leader.
In fact, the idea of common candidates for all Gorkhaland outfits was first popped up by the CPRM, the second largest party in the hills. The party had announced that it would wait till March 22 for an agreement to be reached on the candidates. “We want consensus candidates so that the anti-Gorkhaland parties do not take advantage. Such a move would also be a victory for those parties demanding Gorkhaland,” R.B. Rai, the president of the CPRM, had said on Sunday.
The CPRM today admitted that it had received the letter from the Morcha and would attend the meeting.
However, observers believe the ABGL will most probably keep away from the talks. “I have heard that a letter from the Morcha has reached our party. We might discuss the letter,” said Dawa Sherpa, the president of the ABGL.
Given the fact that the Morcha has been implicated in the murder of former ABGL chief Madan Tamang, it is unlikely that both the parties will enter into any understanding on the polls. The ABGL has already started making attempts to unite all anti-Morcha parties to fight the elections.
According to the letter, all political parties in favour of Gorkhaland have been invited to the talks.
However, it is not clear if the Morcha has sent the invitation to the GNLF given the equations these two parties share.
The observers say Morcha’s invitation to the parties would help bolster its image before the public. “Even if no consensus is reached, the Morcha can use the invitation to its advantage and accuse the other parties of not being sincere and united for the statehood cause,” said an observer.
The Morcha-backed Kalchini MLA, Wilson Champromari, was on Tuesday denied bail by the district and sessions judge in Jalpaiguri.
Champromari had been arrested in connection with the violence at Sibchu on February 8. “We have charged him with damaging public property, possessing arms and attempting to murder, all of which are non-bailable offences,” said Jiten Basu, the government lawyer.
Three Morcha supporters, including a woman, had been killed in a police firing at Sibchu on February 8.
The lawyer representing the MLA said he would move the high court for bail.
Buzz on Ghisingh homecoming

TT, Darjeeling, March 15: The clean-up of GNLF president Subash Ghisingh’s residence here has triggered speculation about his return to the hills ahead of the Assembly polls.

The fact that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will not be in a position to obstruct Ghisingh’s stay in the hills because of the model code of conduct has also raised the possibility of his imminent homecoming.
Around 40 GNLF supporters today came to Ghisingh’s residence along Dr Zakhir Hussain Road and started sprucing it up. The house has been under lock and key since July 26, 2008, when Ghisingh was hounded out of the hills by Morcha workers. He was forced to flee to the plains after a Morcha member had been killed by a bullet allegedly fired from the house of a GNLF leader the previous day.

“We are cleaning up the house as he (Ghisingh) will return very soon,” said Mani Gurung, an aid to the GNLF chief.
Ghisingh’s decision to return has probably been prompted by the fact that the model code of conduct has been in force in the hills after the polls were declared and no leader can be disallowed from campaigning for the elections.
The one-time strongman of the hills couldn’t return home even for the last rites of his wife Dhan Maya in 2008.
The GNLF has plans to field candidates in three Assembly seats in the hills.
Mani sounded optimistic about the prospects of the GNLF in the polls. “We will fight the elections as we still have a large number of supporters. We will continue to assert that there is no alternative to the Sixth Schedule for the hills.”
The Morcha sought to play down the GNLF chief’s homecoming. “Ghisingh is now a non-entity. He does not bother us one bit and if we oppose him, we will only glorify his return. We are in no mood to give him bonus points,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Morcha.
ABGL for anti-Morcha candidates
TT, Siliguri, March 15: The ABGL today mooted a proposal to forge an alliance of all anti-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha parties to fight elections in 12 Assembly seats in north Bengal.
“We have decided to contest in 12 Assembly seats in the hills and the plains. To ensure that the votes are not divided and our candidates emerge winners, we want all anti-Morcha parties to come together,” said ABGL working president Dawa Sherpa.
“Some parties which have comparatively less support base have already accepted the proposal and are ready to support us. But we are waiting for a reply from the CPRM, which will hold a meeting in a few days to discuss the polls. There is, however, no question of allying with the Morcha as we are in opposite poles.”
Sources in the ABGL said the party wanted consensus candidates to be fielded in six seats in Darjeeling district, five in the Dooars and in Dabgram-Fulbari in Jalpaiguri district.
Sherpa did not rule out the possibility of holding talks with the GNLF on poll strategy. Subash Ghisingh’s party is reported to have plans to contest from all the three hill seats.
Demand for Jaigaon municipality intensifies
SNS, KOLKATA, 15 MARCH: RSP MLA Mr Nirmal Das today requested the state government during Mention Hour in the Assembly to declare Jaigaon as a municipality and initiate discussion with the Centre immediately to set up a Central university in the Dooars.
“Jaigaon should be declared as municipality immediately. A decision was taken in this regard in the state Cabinet. Election date may have been announced but the present government is still functioning. A Government Order should be issued either by the chief secretary or the principal secretary of the concerned department immediately,” Mr Das told the Assembly.
He said the state higher education minister had spoken in the Assembly about setting up of a Central university in the Dooars where Opposition parties are trying to create disturbance. “The state government should immediately start discussion with the Centre so that the university could be set up. The university should be named after Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy whose 150 th birth anniversary is being observed across the state,” Mr Das said.
Opposition MLA Mr Manoj Chakraborty said Behrampore block should be bifurcated into two blocks for administrative reasons. There are five Assembly seats and 17 Panchayats in Behrampore block. The population of the block is also huge. It has to be bifurcated into two blocks to help administration work properly,” he said.
The state panchayat and rural development minister said the administrative reforms committee has some proposals. “I don't know whether there is any proposal of bifurcation of Behrampore block pending before the administrative reforms committee,” the minister said.
GJMM convenes all-party meet
SNS, DARJEELING, 15 MARCH: In an interesting twist, the GJMM has convened a meeting of all parties operating in the Hills on 18 March. It has been decided that the party would call for consensus candidates for all the three Assembly constituencies spread across the sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.
“We are for solidarity among the political parties on the paramount question of Gorkhaland. We would approach not just the Hill-based political parties, but several ethnic and sub-ethnic communities like the Lepchas and the Tamang with an urge to rally around the emotive statehood issue,” said a senior GJMM leader, Mr Jyoti Rai.
“We want to display solidarity across the political and societal spectrum. The collective emotion cannot be stifled either by force or by machinations. A consensus is imperative to bring the point home that we are united and would strive with our sweat, blood, toil and tears for statehood,” he said.
Interestingly, no other political party apart from the CPM has announced its candidate list so far.
The local parties like the CPRM, GNLF(C) and Sikkim Rashtriya Mukti Morcha have already received the communication from the GJMM.
The GJMM has also sent the communication to its archrival, the AIGL, harping on the same point of solidarity on the question of Gorkhaland.
However, there is little possibility of the sworn anti-GJMM parties like the AIGL and the GNLF supporting the consensus-overture.
The only notable exception is the CPRM. Its leader, Mr Tara Mani Rai, has hinted that his party would participate in the proposed all-party meeting. “We might support the GJMM-envisaged all-party meeting proposal,” he said.
A senior AIGL leader, Mr Laxman Pradhan, said that his party would take the decision regarding the proposal at the party meeting tomorrow. “We are not in a position to say anything now. Let us have in-depth discussion first,” he said.

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