Darjeeling council poll soon

Siliguri, Nov 20 | Updated: Nov 21 2005, 05:30am hrs
GNLF chief and Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) administrator-caretaker Subhas Ghising has asked GNLF rank and file to gear up for the council elections as a tripartite agreement among DGHC, West Bengal government and the Centre is scheduled to be signed in New Delhi on November 29.

Mr Ghising in a meeting with the partys front-ranking leaders in Darjeeling on Saturday said the date for the tripartite talks has been fixed for November 29 in New Delhi, and an accord offering sixth schedule status to DGHC is expected to be signed the same day.

He said that if everything went as per schedule, there was no reason to further delay the DGHC election which was overdue since September 2003. The West Bengal government was mounting pressure on the council to hold the polls.

The election could not be held despite pressure from the state government, CPI-M and other anti-GNLF parties following Mr Ghisings adamant attitude over the GNLF charter of demands, the main being sixth schedule status for the DGHC.

Mr Ghising told his lieutenants that GNLF would not formally forgo its demand for inclusion of Siliguri plains sub-division in the DGHC during proposed Delhi talks.

However, he was ready to sign the accord under protest if the entire Darjeeling district excluding plains area of Siliguri sub-diviision, was included in the DGHC, the sources said.

A map of the proposed DGHC area, including Siliguri, was prepared by Mr Ghising, which he would submit during the Delhi talks.