GNLF to announce its support on foundation day, central committee meeting posponded

The Gorkha National Liberation Front ( GNLF ), which is keeping everyone guessing about its decision on whom it will support in this year’s general election, may make an announcement on April 5, which happens to be the party’s foundation day.

GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh
GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh

Candidates of various parties including the Trinamool Congress, the Congress and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-BJP alliance have either met GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh or openly sought his support, which could play out to be a decisive factor. However, Ghising, who is known to play his cards close to the chest, has kept support seekers guessing till now, making the suspense more intense at a time when the poll fever is at its height.

A central committee meeting of the GNLF was expected to be organised in Darjeeling today to decide on which candidate to support, but the meeting got cancelled. Party leaders refused to divulge the reason for the cancellation saying Ghising is expected to make an announcement very soon.

“Our party chief will very shortly take a call and announce our decision on which candidate we will support,” said a senior aide of Ghising’s.

Some party sources also said the decision could be announced on April 5, the party’s foundation day.

“The announcement may be made on our foundation day or the day after. There are a lot of things to ponder about and weigh before taking a call,” asserted one of the sources.

He added, “Our demand is including the hills under the Sixth Schedule, which will be a constitutional guarantee and the only plausible solution for our problems. Our support will be based on this.”

The statement has given rise to speculations that the GNLF could lend its support to the TMC government that recently passed a proposal and recommended tribal status to 10 communities of the hills, besides agreeing to form the Lepcha Development Board and the Tamang Cultural and Development Board .

The GNLF is reportedly seeking permission to hold a programme in Darjeeling on its foundation day.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the GNLF had chosen to maintain a low stance as Ghising and most of the senior leaders had fled to the plains of Siliguri following a mass uprising against the party. In 2011, the GNLF did contest the Assembly election, but it lost to the GJM.

However, this time around, the situation in the hills is different as the GJM has lost some ground after its latest agitation for statehood failed. The TMC has made inroads while other parties that had remained dormant have become active besides independent candidate Mahendra P Lama becoming an important factor.

Ghising will have to tread on a double-edged sword. One, the emotive issue of a separate state still lingers large on the minds of the people here. Secondly, extending support to the TMC, which is against the creation of a separate state, could very well sound the death knell for his party.

GNLF has postponed its central committee meeting scheduled to be held today to April 4.

GNLF’s Kurseong unit spokesperson Daya Dewan said the party had earlier planned to take a decision on the Lok Sabha election on April 2 after holding its central committee meeting at the Darjeeling residence of party chief Subash Ghisingh. However, due to various reasons the proposed meeting was not held today and has been postponed to April 4.

He further added that all the party’s senior leadership will participate in the April 4 meeting to discuss about GNLF’s final decision on the LS polls, following which an official announcement will be made by the party chief, Subash Ghising.

Source: EOI

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