EOI, DARJEELING, 10 Jul 2016: A low turnout of party leaders for a programme forced Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today to announce the re-launch of a book brought out by a senior member of the Study Forum – the GJM intellectual wing.
The GJM had organised a programme at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan in Darjeeling to launch the book ‘Rajniti Ka Kura Haru’ written by P. Arjun, a Study Forum member. Although Gurung launched the book, he was visibly annoyed by the low attendance and minced no words to express it. “It is sad our leaders including the GTA Sabhasads and municipality commissioners are not present for such an occasion. Maybe a section of municipality commissioners are apprehensive they will not get tickets for the upcoming election this year,” Gurung said.
Usually during party programmes, especially the ones Gurung attends, senior and unit party leaders, Sabhasads, municipality employees and members of frontal organisations are present.
However, today’s programme at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan saw no more than 100 people in attendance, despite the venue having a seating capacity of more than 600.
Expressing his frustration in strong words, the GJM chief issued a direct warning to the absentees. “I have noticed and made note of everything. I don’t see a lot of leaders. I have asked our party’s official photographer to videograph the whole programme, which I will go through,” Gurung said.
Sources within the party said invitations for the programme had been dispatched well in advance and reminder calls had also been made. “We dispatched invitations to all leaders including the GTA
Sabhasads, municipality staff and officials and frontal organisations. We also called the leaders to remind them about today’s programme. What more can we do besides this?” said a senior leader on condition of anonymity.
The GJM chief said P. Arjun’s book would be re-launched with much more fanfare from Kalimpong. “I will be in Kalimpong on July 18 or 19 and we will re-launch this book there.
I will invite prominent dignitaries including personalities from various fields of intellectual strata and felicitate P. Arjun,” Gurung said even as he admitted that the party had failed to live up to expectations in Kalimpong during the Assembly election.
“We have not done well in Kalimpong due to various reasons. But we don’t need to panic as we will sort things out and re-establish our base there. We however, need to retrospect on what has gone wrong and try to rectify them,” he said.
In the recent Assembly election, the GJM’s margin of victory, especially from Kalimpong constituency, was low. Harka Bahadur Chhetri of the Jan Andolan Party, riding on the separate Kalimpong district plank, managed to tear into the GJM’s vote bank.
Gurung, who is also the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, emphasised the need to respect and preserve the works of writers along with the community’s literature, art and culture and language. “We must respect the work of writers as they contribute immensely to our literature, art, language and culture. Otherwise it will harm us socially and educationally,” he said.
P. Arjun, besides being a Study Forum member, was also a close advisor to the GTA chief executive till he was expelled from the party in 2014, just before of the Lok Sabha election. He however, returned to the GJM fold earlier this year.