Earlier this month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had invited the West Bengal government, the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for a tripartite meeting to “discuss issues related to Gorkhaland” in Delhi.
The separate state of Gorkhaland has been a longstanding demand of Gorkhas living in the Darjeeling hills.
GTA is the local autonomous body in the Darjeeling hills, which is headed by the Binoy Tamang-led faction of the GJM that supports the TMC.
The other GJM faction led by Bimal Gurung supports the BJP. Gurung had signed the GTA accord on behalf of the undivided GJM in July 2011.
Despite winning the Darjeeling Parliamentary seat successively since 2009, the BJP has not been able to address the half-a-century old issue.
However, the issue of Gorkhaland always resurfaces during the time of elections and is pushed under the carpet once polls are over.
The bid to win over the people in North Bengal hills poses the risk of falling out with the people of rest of Bengal.
Under the present circumstances, it remains to be seen what stance the BJP takes to address the issue without jeopardising its poll prospects in Bengal.
- The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is an Autonomous District Council for the Darjeeling and Kalimpong areas of West Bengal.
- The GTA was formed in 2012 to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in 1988 and administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years.
- GTA presently consists of three hill subdivisions Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, some areas of Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district and the whole of Kalimpong district under its authority.