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Seniors leaders of GJM said they had expected more cooperation from the BJP and demanded a communique from the Union home ministry rubbishing Banerjee's claim that the Morcha has links with Northeastern terrorist groups and that it receives foreign funding to create unrest in the hills.
The apparent silence of BJP MP SS Ahluwalia, who represents Darjeeling in Lok Sabha, is another sore point with the regional party. "We were very confident about our partner BJP, but the faith is now sinking. The CM has put such a shameful charge on us, accusing us of having links with the insurgency groups and plotting terror here," said Rohit Sharma, a veteran MLA of GJM from Kurseong.
Sharma further said: "Are we not the same Gorkhas who laid down their life in the line of duty repeatedly? CM has also said that we are receiving foreign funds to set the hills on fire. The home ministry is aware of this and they have their intelligence reports too. Why should not they come up with a communique spelling out the truth? "
A senior police officer said that the central police agencies have not received any inputs from anywhere to corroborate Banerjee's allegation of foreign funding. "There was case in which a GJM leader was caught trading with some terrorists groups' arms cartels, but that was an individual case. It does not apply to the party itself," the officer said, requesting not to be identified.
Even as some senior leaders of Morcha have been camping in Delhi for several days now, there has been no headway in talks with the Centre. "We expected more cooperation from our alliance partner and the ruling party at the Centre," said GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.
Another senior GJM leader said the party is trying its best to get the issues addressed at the earliest.
Hitting out at Ahluwalia, who won with a record margin from Darjeeling, Sharma said, "The people of the hills worked for him day in day out during the elections. He is not only an MP but also a Union minister (of state for agriculture and farmers welfare, and parliamentary affairs). Should not the people expect some words of sympathy from him in their hour of grief ? At least a few words of condolence from him to the people, who have lost three young men in police firing, should have reached us by now."
Ahluwalia could not be reached for comment. GJM leaders also said that they wanted to remind the BJP of its promises made to the people of the region in the run-up to the 2014 general election. In its manifesto, the BJP had promised to "sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of Gorkhas" while the party's PM candidate Narendra Modi had said at a rally in Siliguri while addressing Gorkhas, "Your dream is our dream." "We feel very disheartened. Despite all the promises made in the election manifesto and in honourable Prime Minister's election speech, nothing much was done," said BJP's Amar Rai, MLA from Darjeeling.
"We understand they have their political compulsion and it is very difficult to grant statehood. But they could at least form a committee to examine our age-old demand."
Rai said the party's local unit had submitted a detailed project report requesting the Centre to set up a central university, along with a representation demanding tribal status for 11 communities. But the Centre has done nothing, he said.