Special Correspondent

Kolkata: After heading the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) for nearly two decades ever since it was set up in August 1988, Subhas Ghising, resigned as administrator of the body on Monday. He had served as its Chairman till March 2005.

Mr. Ghising handed over his resignation in Siliguri to Rajesh Pandey, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.

Later, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told the West Bengal Assembly that Mr. Ghising’s resignation had been accepted.

There were celebrations in the streets of Darjeeling as news of Mr.Ghising’s resignation spread. Jubilant leaders of the anti-Ghising Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) said the step was an important one forward in their movement for a separate Gorkhaland State.

Mr. Ghising was prevented from returning to Darjeeling since his arrival in Siliguri from New Delhi on February 18 because of blocks set up on all roads by GJM activists. He was now free to return, the GJM leadership said.

The GJM had been demanding his resignation from the DGHC post for the past few months and its leaders had vowed not to allow him to return to Darjeeling till he gave up the post.

“Now that he has resigned he can, if he so wishes, return here. But it will not be our responsibility if the people continue to stop him from doing so”, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling.

Following a meeting with Mr. Ghising on February 29 the Chief Minister, in a statement, had said that Mr. Ghising had informed the State government of his decision to relinquish the DGHC post within the “next ten days.”

The talks with Mr. Bhattacharjee were preceded by a round of talks between the latter and rival Bimal Gurung of GJM who has been demanding his resignation.

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