Ghising returns to Darjeeling after three years

April 8th, 2011 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Darjeeling, April 8 (IANS) Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) supremo Subash Ghising Friday returned to the Darjeeling hills after almost three years, sans the pomp seen during his heyday.

There were few GNLF supporters to welcome Ghising, while the security presence was also far from overbearing.

Darjeeling Deputy Superintendent of Police (town) A.A. Tauseef said Ghising had safely returned to his house at Zakir Hussain Road of the hill town of Darjeeling. Indian Reserve Battalion personnel have been deployed for his security.

According to a GNLF leader, Ghising will campaign in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong for party candidates. The GNLF has fielded three nominees who are contesting on the kite symbol.

Ghising, who led a violent movement for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state out of north Bengal’s Darjeeling district, has lived in exile from the hills after his GNLF was sidelined by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) that spearheads the movement now.

Ghising was forced to leave the hills July 26, 2008, by the GJM and has not been allowed back. He has since been staying at a rented house in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district in the plains.

Ghising’s Darjeeling home was recently renovated for his stay here.

He is slated to hold a public meeting in Mirik April 9 and in Darjeeling April 13, party sources said.

Besides, Ghising also will a hold road show in Kalimpong town.

The GNLF, which is scheduled to release its election manifesto in Mirik Saturday, had won the three seats in Darjeeling hills in the 2006 assembly polls.

Ghising said he still stuck to his demand of bringing the entire Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule of the constitution.

“My stand is still the same and I want the DGHC (hill development body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) to have more powers with 45 departments under the Sixth Schedule,” Ghising told reporters.

Political circles believe Ghising`s comeback could be a turning point for the hills ahead of the April 18 assembly elections.

Although the possibility of a GNLF victory in the poll appears remote at this juncture, the fielding of its candidates has given the party supporters something to cheer about.

The fate of 38 candidates in six constituencies of Darjeeling district will be decided April 18 in the first round of the six-phase elections for the 294-member West Bengal assembly.

In the first phase, 54 seats in six north Bengal districts go to the hustings.

Counting of votes is scheduled for May 13.

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