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Merge with Morcha: Gurung – Party president asks employees’ unions to join Sangathan for Gorkhaland

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 5, 2009

Members of the Janmukti Karmachari Sangathan take out a procession in Darjeeling on Friday, demanding Gorkhaland.

Members of the Janmukti Karmachari Sangathan take out a procession in Darjeeling on Friday, demanding Gorkhaland.

Darjeeling, Sept. 4(Telegraph): Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today urged all employees’ unions to merge with the one belonging to his party for the cause of Gorkhaland.

In the hills, many state and central government employees are members of the Hill Employees’ Association and Hill Employees’ Workers’ Trade Union instead of the Morcha-affiliate Janmukti Karmachari Sangathan.

At a programme organised by the Sangthan at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club, Gurung said: “I urge the unions here to merge with the Janmukti Karmachari Sangathan for Gorkhaland. They can carry on works like raising certain demands associated with the employees.”

Observers, however, said if the unions were to merge with Morcha’s Sangathan, it would be difficult for them to independently raise employee-related issues with the government.

Gurung made it clear that he was unhappy with the way other unions were functioning although he did not mention them or their leaders by name.

“You should not criticise us by staying outside the party. If you oppose Gorkhaland, the fate would be the same as had happened to Subash Ghisingh,” Gurung thundered.

The Morcha leader also assured the 8,000-strong contractual workers of the DGHC that he would see that their jobs were regularised. “I know how to take care of my people. It may take time but I will ensure that the jobs of the contractual workers are regularised,” said Gurung.

The DGHC contractual workers are under the banner of the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS), another affiliate of the Morcha.

Political observers believe that Gurung’s barbs were for Amar Rai, the president of the Hill Trade Union, who had publicly maintained that his organisation would function independently without any political affiliation. But Rai had also said the union would continue to support the demand for Gorkhaland in its own way.

In fact, the Hill Trade Union was formed in the late-1980s after many members of the Hill Employees Association started hobnobbing with the GNLF, which was in power in the hills then.

Gurung’s tirade has come as a surprise as during the initial days of the Morcha’s formation the two unions had collected funds from their members and donated them to the party as contribution towards the cause of Gorkhaland.

Rai did not respond to calls made on his cellphone. However, B. P. Chhetri, the general secretary of the Hill Employees’ Association, said he was yet to hear anything from the Morcha about the merger. “We are all for the cause of Gorkhaland and on that front, we are united. Also, we, along with the other unions and the Morcha’s Sangathan, had formed a coordination committee on the statehood issue,” Chhetri, who is the coordinator for the committee, said.

As far as the mergers with the Morcha was concerned, Chhetri said if he received an appeal from the party, a meeting of the association members would have to be called first to decide on the issue.

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