New state will be Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, says Gurung

Darjeeling, May 30 (IANS) In a bid to woo tribal support, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung Sunday announced that the proposed Gorkhaland state, which his party wants to be carved out of West Bengal, would be named Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh.

‘The name of Gorkhaland will be changed to Gorka Adivasi Pradesh,’ Gurung said while addressing his first full-fledged public meeting in Darjeeling after the killing of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) chief Madan Tamang.

Tamang, a staunch opponent of the GJM, was hacked to death in the town May 21, triggering allegations that Gurung’s party was involved in the killing.

Several GJM leaders quit the party while some intellectuals severed relations with it, protesting Tamang’s murder. Widespread protests against the brutal killing were also held in the Darjeeling Hills.

Sunday’s meeting saw thousands of GJM supporters thronging the meeting venue North Point ground in a public show of strength of the party which has been spearheading the Gorkhaland movement for the last couple of years.

‘Gorkhaland will be a reality but it will take some time,’ said Jaswant Singh, MP from Darjeeling who shared the dais with Gurung.

Obsevers feel it is a well calculated political move on the part of the GJM to change the name of the proposed state to Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh. This may strike a chord with the tribals and intensify the demand for inclusion of the tribal-dominated Dooars (foothills of the Himalyas in Jalpaiguri district) and Terai (plains of Darjeelign district) regions in the new state.