Harka Bahadur Chhetri threatened to quit Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, meets Mamata

Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri has threatened to quit the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, saying the unilateral way in which Bimal Gurung told the three party MLAs to resign from the Assembly had hurt him.

The MLA said this a day after meeting chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Kalimpong at a time ties between the Morcha and the state government are under stress, given hill party chief Gurung’s unhappiness with the state government’s purported interference in GTA matters.

Chhetri did not give a date on when he would leave the Morcha.

He said he would quit as Morcha MLA too, while pointing out that none of the three legislators was called for a discussion before Gurung took the decision.

The Morcha has refused to comment on the stance taken by Chhetri, who is respected in the hills as a soft-spoken leader. Party general secretary Roshan Giri said: “I will comment later.”

Party chief Gurung is in Delhi now.

This is not the first time Chhetri has spoken of leaving the Morcha. The hill leader had quit the party in 2010 after the murder of Madan Tamang, who was the chief of Morcha’s rival party, the Akhil Bharatiya Gokha League. Soon, though, he rejoined the Morcha.

Kalimpong MLA H.B Chhetri
Harka Bahadur Chhetri

Recently, Gurung had said the three Morcha legislators would quit their posts on September 18 to protest the meddlesome attitude of the state government.

Chhetri today said: “An important decision like asking the MLAs to resign was taken by the party without even inviting the MLAs to the meeting. Our opinions were never sought on the matter. The decision was only conveyed to us. Apart from being an MLA, I am also the spokesman for the party, but this is not the first time that I have been kept in the dark. Personally, I was hurt with this attitude”

He said: “If the party thinks, I have nothing left in me to contribute for the party, I think as a self-respecting man I should no longer continue in the party.”

Watch video – Kalimpong MLA H.B Chhetri’s reaction on his resignation.

Chhetri has developed close relations with the state government. Although, no Morcha leader attended a single event of Mamata in the hills yesterday and today, Chhetri admitted that he had gone to meet the chief minister late last evening in Deolo to pursue the demand of upgrading Kalimpong sub-division into a district. He said the chief minister had promised to look into the issue when Alipurduar district was formed.

The Morcha is principally not opposed to the formation of a Kalimpong district.

Chhetri said the response had been positive from Mamata yesterday. “When the process of forming Alipurduar district had started, I had raised the issue and the chief minister had asked the official to take note of the demand,” he said. “Even yesterday, she said she was aware of the demand and it was on her mind.”

In Calcutta, Trinamul sources said that while it was too early to predict if Chhetri would join the ruling party, it was “significant” that the hill leader chose to meet Mamata at a time the Morcha has shunned both the state government and the ruling party.

“No other Morcha leader met the chief minister, except Harka. This is significant since it shows the closeness of Harka to the chief minister,” the source said.

Gurung had held a meeting with the elected GTA Sabha members on September 11 in Darjeeling, where the decision had been taken that the MLAs would quit the Assembly. None of the Morcha MLAs was present at the meeting.

Chhetri said: “I have always maintained that we have representatives in all elected bodies, the GTA, the Bengal Assembly and even in Parliament, and now the fight for statehood must be done in a very technical manner. The agitation has to be through lobby, negotiations and talks and by raising the issue in Parliament.”

The Kalimpong MLA was of the opinion that he had no problems with the decision of the party that the MLAs must resign, but was hurt with the manner in which the decision was taken and the Morcha’s style of functioning.

“Moreover, an MLA can do little. We are only three in a house of 294. I think the major role of the MLAs in the state Assembly is to act as a facilitator between the GTA and the state government. We, as MLAs, are also ex-offico members of the GTA but we were never informed about the working of the GTA nor invited to GTA meetings,” Chhetri said.

“I believe that the problems regarding the functioning of the GTA should have been addressed through legal course. The GTA has an Act and we could have easily dragged the government to court on the interference issue,” Chhetri said.

Chhetri seemed undecided on when he would leave the party. “It could even be before I resign from the Assembly or it could be jointly. The date is not important, now that I have decided on the matter,” the MLA said.

The high school teacher of botany said he would like to “go back to the life before the Morcha”.

“I am a writer and would want to go back to the life before the Morcha. I still have two years left in my teaching career,” Chhetri said.

Source Telegraph

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