Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), was elected Chief Executive Officer of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) here on Friday by the elected and nominated members of the new regional autonomous body.
The members of the GTA, that replaces the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), will be sworn in here on Saturday.
The first meeting of the GTA Sabha comprising 45 elected and five nominated members to the body that was held during the day also selected Pradeep Pradhan as Chairman of the GTA Sabha.
“The GTA Sabha will have 14 members in charge (MIC) and 57 departments. It will start functioning with the swearing-in of the members on Saturday,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told The Hindu.
He said the chairman and deputy chairman would function like the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of a State Assembly.
Mr. Giri said the party had not taken a decision on who would be the Deputy Chief Executive Officer or who are to be the MICs of the GTA.
Of the five nominated members to the regional autonomous body, three are representatives of the State government and the remaining two of the GJM.
John Barla, who led a faction of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad that supported the GJM’s demand for inclusion of areas in the Terai and Dooars in the GTA, did not figure in the list of nominated members after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee insisted that three candidates would be nominated by the State government.
Those nominated by the government include Durga Kharel, head of the Trinamool Congress legal cell in the district, Satish Kumar Thing, a school teacher, and Milan Dupka who was a candidate in the GTA elections nominated by the Trinamool Congress. The GJM had already announced that Sarita Rai and Birkhu Bhusal will be the other two nominated members of the body.
Meanwhile, preparations are on for the swearing-in ceremony of the first elected and nominated members of the GTA in Darjeeling. A huge stage has been set up at Darjeeling Chowrasta by the district administration for the event.