GJM would move court to hold a three-tier Panchayat election in the hills

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today said the party would move court if the state government fails to hold a three-tier Panchayat election in the Hills.

Speaking on the sideline of a party meeting at Malidhura near Singamari in Darjeeling to take stock of the post poll situation, the GJM chief said, “I apprehend the state government will announce the panchayat election immediately after the May 16 counting process. I have no problem with the panchayat election but it must be a three-tier one. Otherwise, we will be forced to knock the doors of the court.”

Bimal Gurung - party would move court if the state government fails to hold a three-tier Panchayat election in the Hills.
Bimal Gurung

The GJM has been adamant in its demand for a three-tier panchayat system in the hills. In fact, the GTA agreement which was signed by the state, central governments and the GJM in 2011 also has provisions for implementing a three-tier panchayat in the hills. The GTA also wants a re-organisation to the existing eight blocks and 112 gram panchayats in the hills saying doing so would guarantee better functioning.

At present, a two-tier gram panchayat and panchayat samity- system is functioning in the hills, which had begun when the now defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) was set up in 1988 under the Gorkha National Liberation Front led by Subash Ghisingh. But that system has remained dysfunctional since 2005 although it is being run by a board of administrators.

Understandably, Ghisingh did not allow the panchayat election to take place as he had raised the issue of placing the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule and to which a memorandum of understanding was also signed December 2006 between the state, centre and the GNLF.

On the likelihood of a tussle ensuing between the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and a three-tier panchayat system, the GJM president said, “Yes, there could be a parallel set up, but we have no problems with that. Our demand remains a three-tier panchayat system as per the tripartite council agreement.”

Meantime, the Siliguri sub-division, which falls under Darjeeling district, has a zilla parishad to run its affairs.

After polls are over in North Bengal, the GJM president will campaign for ally BJP to woo Nepali voters in areas such as Haryana, Dehradun, Uttarakhand and Haridwar.

“Our party president will lead a delegation tomorrow to campaign for BJP candidates in states where there is a sizeable Nepali population. The BJP has fielded Malarajya Laxmi Saha, a Nepali candidate In Tehiri, Uttarakhand,” said GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang, who will accompany Gurung along with Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri, central committee members Raju Pradhan and Diwakar Gurung.

The GJM assistant secretary added the day’s meeting with party leaders and frontal organisations of the party was to review the polls. Tamang confided a decision has also been taken to restructure and revamp the party to strengthen its base at the grassroots in the run up to the probable panchayat election.

Source: EOI

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