Initial demand compromised
Placing Darjeeling in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is the desired goal of the West Bengal government and the entire country in view of the past history of the hills.
To this objective, Subash Ghisingh did compromise his initial demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland in a long-drawn political process. Of course, he retained his supremacy in the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council by hook or by crook and incurred the wrath of a cross-section of his own supporters who have joined together under the banner of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha demanding a separate statehood for Darjeeling.
To what extent the Morcha enjoys the support of the people of the hills is not known, but its activists have brought life to a standstill in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district by calling bandh.
Unless Ghisingh is able to organise his supporters through his presence in the hills, any assessment of the scales of support of the either side may be too early to be stable.
26 February, Kolkata.
People of Darjeeling do not have any faith in the GNLF supremo for, what they call, his betrayal by deviating from the original demand of a separate “Gorkhaland”, and remaining happy with the inclusion of Darjeeling in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The autocratic manner in which Ghisingh functioned has created more enemies than friends; the formation of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha and the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League by his one-time fellow-travellers has challenged his supremacy, which had remained unchallenged so long.
The inclusion of Darjeeling in the Sixth Schedule has become the bone of contention as the people apprehend that Ghisingh will again become the chairman of the DGHC and will become more powerful as the constitutional head after a new DGHC is formed following passing of the Bill in Parliament; Darjeeling will remain within the state of West Bengal instead of becoming a separate State.
Ghisingh was so engrossed in his dreams of becoming the constitutional head of the new DGHC and thought himself to be the uncrowned “King of the Hills” that he could not read the writings on the wall.
25 February, Santiniketan.
Friends turn foes
Ghisingh no longer holds sway over the hill people, though he may claim that he is still the king of the hills. The main cause of his dwindling popularity is due to his own supporters who have turned into foes and have demanded his expulsion as administrator of the DGHC before 24 March.
Ghisingh is responsible for his own debacle as he had not made any planned development for the hill people. During his tenure as chairman of the DGHC funds for development of Darjeeling were allegedly misused and subverted.
It has been proved from the indefinite strike called by the Morcha that Ghisingh has lost control over the Gorkhas.
DILIP KUMAR DUTTA,
25 February, Midnapore (W).
A failed leader
There is no doubt that Ghisingh no longer holds sway over the hill people. The indefinite bandh called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha demanding that Ghisingh step down as administrator of the DGHC was spontaneous and after that Ghisingh has no right to call himself “the king of the hill people”.
As administrator Ghisingh failed to develop Darjeeling as had been expected. Though the state government had given sufficient budgetary grant to the DGHC, he could not make good use of the money. Rather, corruption had grown manifold in Darjeeling. As a result, development schemes like electricity, water supply, road were not undertaken. Ghisingh paid no heed to these. As a result, displeasure among the hill people started growing day by day. And today it has reached such a stage that Ghisingh is unable to set foot in Darjeeling.
As administrator of the DGHC, he has made a lot of money for himself and the GNLF. He never submitted accounts of the expenditure of budgetary grant to the state government.
The Morcha demand for Ghisingh’s stepping down is justified.
26 February, Kolkata.