Kolkata: In a major setback for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Chief Bimal Gurung, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday formed a new body called Board of Administrators (BoA) for Darjeeling Hills districts.
The BOA with rebel GJM leader Binay Tamang as its Chairman will serve as an administrative body till the scheduled elections in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
Another GJM rebel leader, Anit Thapa, was made the vice-chairman of BoA. The other key members in the BoA are: state chief secretary Malay Kumar De, LB Rai (TMC), Mann Ghising (GNLF), Sanchari Subba (GJM), Jaitoon Khatun.
While addressing the media persons, Banerjee said, “All of them were appointed to supervise the administration of the hills in absence of GTA. The Board will govern the areas which used to fall under GTA. The initiative has been taken for the development of the Hills.”
She said, “The arrangement was made under clause 65B and I am sure peace will soon be ensured in the Hills.”
When asked about GJM leaders led by Roshan Giri’s meeting with Darjeeling MLA SS Ahluwalia and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi, Banerjee said, “I don’t understand how someone can meet those persons (Roshan and others) whose names are on the lookout notice. If I were in their position, I would have said no to them for the meeting.”
Without naming Singh, She said, “He is holding a constitutional position and should have avoided such meeting. I don’t want to comment much in to that. It is their matter. They know better on how to deal with the situation.”
Trimool Congress insiders told News18 that Banerjee is keen on a tripartite meeting but she does not want Gurung or Giri to be part of the meeting. Therefore, officially she projected Binay Tamang and others as the face of the Hills so that they could take part in the Tripartite meet.
Giri and Gurung refused to comment anything on this matter. Sources said they would issue a press statement later.
Meanwhile, in Darjeeling – which witnessed strike for the last 97 days - some shops were opened during the day. The situation remained tense but no incident reported so far despite alleged threats.
Rebel GJM leaders organized peace rallies in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik, while GJM supporters took out rallies in support of a separate Gorkhaland.
Following Banerjee’s announcement on BoA, a large police force has been rushed to maintain the law and situation.