THE HIMALAYAN BEACON
NEW DELHI, 25 NOVEMBER 2017: The Central Government has expressed its desire for calling a fresh election for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) before calling the Tripartite Talks. “We have requested the state government to revive the GTA by conducting fresh elections before the Centre can formally invite all stakeholders to the tripartite talks. It has been almost a month since we communicated it to the state but we are yet to get a response,” a ministry official said as quoted in a prominent newspaper.
Political observers in the hills feel that the Central Government’s desire reflects its concern over the nomination of Binay Tamang – Anit Thapa faction of GJM at the helm of the GTA without proper elections. The observers are also of the opinion that if the elections to the GTA is postponed indefinitely, the GJM faction closer to the the State Government along with other parties such as the GNLF which is now at the helm of a new development board setup by the State Government will gain prominence in the hills and other stakeholders particularly those like Bimal faction of the GJM which is closer to the Central Government would be unable to compete with these parties. Hence, without giving much time to parties closer to the State Government, the Central Government is desirous of conducting an election to the GTA before the Tripartite Talks could be held.
However, since the elections to the GTA can only be conducted under the directions of the State Government, the Central Government at present seems to be at the mercy of the State Government.
A senior Nabanna official has said that they had not received any letter from the Central Government advising the State Government to conduct elections to the GTA. “Let the letter come and then only can we take a decision after consulting the chief minister,” saying the official was quoted in a prominent national newspaper.
Observers believe the state is unlikely to hold elections to the GTA so early as it has already nominated a board of administrators headed by Binay Tamang to run the hill body. The state is propping up Tamang as an alternative leader to Gurung and the former is slowly making inroads into the political landscape of the hills.
Thus the State Government is in no mood of conducting the elections to the GTA any time soon since they fear that if the election is held at this juncture there is every chance that Bimal Gurung and his supporters could make a come back an observer said.