The fight for the remaining three phases of the West Bengal assembly election is reaching a fitting crescendo. While TMC has already been flattened by the swelling support of BJP, another setback in the form of the Ghising family pledging its allegiances to BJP has dented Mamata Banerjee’s chances of winning again in the state.
One of the key family in the Gorkha region, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) president Mann Ghising has come out in full support of the BJP. Mann’s backing means the Darjeeling Hills and its constituencies can fall right into the lap of the party, which is looking to end Mamata’s alleged 10-years reign of fear.
“It looks like ‘khela shesh’ so far. We’re keeping a watch. As far as the Hills & our problems are concerned, we want that this government be changed; we want BJP govt, we want justice.” Mann was quoted as saying by ANI.
It is imperative to note that Ghising is the successor of late Subhash Ghising, who was the founder of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). In the 1980s GNLF started the Gorkhaland movement. The agitation led to the setting up of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) to govern the areas under the Darjeeling district. Ghising was also chairman of the DGHC that preceded the semi-autonomous administrative body Gorkha Territorial Council (GTC).
Owing to his father’s massive reach and popularity, Mann Ghising has drawn huge crowds at his poll rallies, where he demanded a “permanent political solution” for the people of the hills. Mann has worked with Mamata in the past but ditched her in 2018 after he realised that the TMC supremo was merely using his influence to keep hold over the region and not paying any heed to the Gorkha aspirations.
It looks like 'khela shesh' so far. We're keeping a watch. As far as the Hills & our problems are concerned, we want that this government be changed; we want BJP govt, we want justice: Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) president Mann Ghising, in Darjeeling#WestBengalPolls pic.twitter.com/b9kTr7H071
— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2021
A separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’ has been a constant demand of Nepali-speaking Gorkhas for years on the grounds that they are culturally and ethnically different from West Bengal. However, according to news reports, the BJP has promised a political solution to the Gorkha issue and an increase in daily wages for tea workers to Rs 350.
As reported previously by TFI, the demand for Gorkhaland is as old as that of Telangana or Jharkhand but is yet to be fulfilled. In 2017 when Mamata Banerjee made Bengali a compulsory language across the state, the demand for Gorkhaland rose once again and led to protests across the region. While Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) might have previously sided with TMC, the fact that the oldest family, concerned with the rights of the Gorkha people is standing with BJP should be a reason enough for the voters to cast their votes for the lotus.
The Union Home Ministry has already taken monumental decisions such as the abolition of Article 370 and the implementation of CAA under the leadership of Amit Shah and thus the creation of Gorkhaland can certainly be not ruled out if BJP storms to power.