Mamata, Gurung spar online

Mamata, Gurung spar online

Mamata, Gurung spar online

As the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) scaled up its demand for a separate Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal, instead of the existing autonomous administrative region, the war of words went online.

While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned that she would be forced to take stern measures, GJM president Bimal Gurung retorted that he was ready for any  eventuality.

Gurung, who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to dissolve the autonomous Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), is expected to quit as the administrative head by Thursday.

His Facebook page read: “The GTA is a total failure and the time has come for me to resign. I will soon give my resignation to the governor of West Bengal. People must gear up for more agitations.”

On Facebook, Banerjee posted: “Darjeeling is part and parcel of our state. We are united and we will remain united. We will not allow anybody to divide and rule.”
“Why is Delhi making efforts to kick start fresh agitation to serve vested political interest? It is a matter of shame,” she wrote, calling it a “conspiracy hatched by a political party and the Centre.”

Reacting to Banerjee’s statement, Gurung said: “I might die tomorrow but the voice for Gorkhaland shouldn’t be suppressed, it should, remain like this.” Meanwhile, day-one of the GJM’s 72-hour strike, which started at 6 am on Monday, left the Darjeeling area deserted with hardly any traffic.

Announcing the strike on Twitter on Saturday, Gurung said: “A 72-hour strike will be observed from 29th July to start our final battle for Gorkhaland. Are you with me?”  On Monday, his tweet seemed to have received a significant response with an all-encompassing strike. Unconfirmed reports claim GJM supporters burnt three vehicles on National Highway 31, which connects Bengal and Sikkim.

The police arrested around 50 people for forcibly imposing the strike. Local administration reported that around 2,000 tourists, including some foreign nationals, left Darjeeling by Sunday afternoon.