Euphoric celebrations mark inking of Darjeeling accord

July 18th, 2011 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Sukna (West Bengal) July 18 (IANS) “Kya aap khush hain? (Are you happy?)”, the question posed to hundreds of locals, mostly Gorkhas, by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee elicited a deafening “Haan! (yes)” as a tripartite accord was signed here Monday for the Darjeeling hills.

In an euphoric atmosphere marked by Nepali music and dance, hundreds of people in traditional attire witnessed the historic signing of the tripartite accord that paved the way for formation of the autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

“Kya aap khush hain? (Are you happy?),” asked the chief minister, to which a roar of “haan” (yes) could be heard. Not satisfied she again said, “To phir zor se ‘haan’ boliye” (then say ‘yes’ loudly). A deafening “haan” went up that could be heard even far away.

Amid cheers, drumbeats and blowing of trumpets, the leaders one by one ascended the stage which had been decorated with the colours of the national flag at the venue - Pintail Village - a sprawling resort dotted with cottages and open spaces situated close to the plains of Siliguri.

Like the spectators, the signatories too were in their signature-tune dresses. Gorkha Janamukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung wore daura-sural, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was in her traditional white cotton saree and union Home Minister P. Chidambaram sported his usual white mundu and shirt.

The leaders present at the dais included union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy, Darjeeling parliamentarian Jaswant Singh and state Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee.

Gurung, who gave the opening speech mostly in Nepali, received a rapturous welcome.

Chidambaram too got his share of applause after he referred to Gurung as “My good friend Bimal Gurungji”.

However, most of the claps and cheers were reserved for Banerjee who started her speech with greetings in Nepali and kept on switching between Hindi, English and Bengali as the flow of applause and cheers continued uninterrupted.

Banerjee, accompanied by Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi and several Trinamool Congress leaders, walked the 1.5 km to reach the venue.

Hundreds of people, mostly Gorkhas from the hills, came in processions to be part of the momentous event. The balconies and rooftops of adjoining buildings were brimming with people.

Dance troupes kept on performing at the venue.

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