The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership on Wednesday demanded that the regional authority proposed for the Darjeeling Hills be set up before the Assembly polls in West Bengal due by June 11 next year.

“We want the regional authority to be set up before and not after the elections,” GJM president Bimal Gurung asserted at the Bagdogra airport.

Mr. Gurung and two of his associates in the party had held talks with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on Monday on the future of the proposed regional authority.

Contentious issues

There are certain contentious issues regarding the proposed body that still await sorting out. “We want it to be finalised at the next round of tripartite talks to be held at the political level,” Mr. Gurung told journalists on his arrival from the capital.

Differences persist between the GJM and the West Bengal government on the territorial jurisdiction of the body and its composition — whether it will comprise nominated members which the GJM is demanding or elected members.

The GJM leadership maintains that Gorkha-dominated pockets in the Terai and Dooars regions of north Bengal should be brought within the regional authority's purview. The State government has been of the view that the body's jurisdiction be confined to the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Mr. Chidambaram, who was apprised of the GJM's views on the outstanding issues, has reportedly assured Mr. Gurung and his colleagues that efforts will be made to find a solution at the earliest, according to Mr. Gurung.

Under pressure from supporters, the GJM leadership is keen that the regional authority should be set up soon.

Keywords: GJMDarjeeling Hills