Ahead of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) election in June this year, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ( GJM) president Bimal Gurung on Saturday wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking transfer of the rest of the residual departments to the GTA, the regional autonomous body of the Darjeeling hills, and the inclusion of the 396 Gorkha majority mouzas into it.
In his letter, Gurung pointed out that in October 2020, his party “snapped” all ties with the BJP and entered into an alliance with the Trinamool Congress. He also demanded a permanent political solution for the people of the Darjeeling hills, indirectly hinting at their longstanding demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Expressing his desire to hold talks with Mamata Banerjee on several issues before the election, Gurung told reporters, “The state government should address the demands made in the GTA pact. Only then will discussions be held on the upcoming election. If not, we will sit on a relay-hunger strike in Darjeeling. We will let the people from across the world (who visit the hill town) know about our condition.”
The state government, in consultation with the State Election Commission, has decided to hold elections to the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in June. There are 45 elected members in the GTA of which five others are nominated by the Governor.
The GTA was formed as a result of a tripartite agreement between the Centre, state government and the GJM in 2011 after the earlier experiment with the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council failed.