GJM calls for series of strikes in Darjeeling

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Sunday renewed its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, calling for a series of strikes in Darjeeling district next month and advising tourists not to visit the Hills during the bandh days.

At a rally in Kalimpong on Sunday, GJM president Bimal Gurung announced bandhs in two phases— on March 14 and 15 and again on March 21 and 22 — in the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. He also called for closure of all government offices from March 9 to 27.

The Morcha leaders are planning to visit Delhi soon to meet the President and other central ministers to press for their demand for President's Rule in the Hills.

Gurung said that the days of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) were numbered. "The way they are encroaching on the territory of the GTA, the CM is trying to create ethnic division in the Hills by forming a separate Lepcha Board, she is coming here and organising a North Bengal festival, she is distributing pattas, inaugurating a bridge without informing the GTA, all this is not acceptable to us. This cannot go on. We want President's rule and after that Gorkhaland will be here because that is our goal,'' Gurung said at the rally.

He incidentally praised the CPM, saying they were better than the Trinamool Congress. "They at least had a principle, their leadership had quality," he said.

The TMC appealed to the GJM to refrain from calling bandhs. "We appeal to the GJM to refrain from calling any strike and sit across the table," Gautam Deb, Minister for North Bengal Development, told The Indian Express.

SP workers told to not use CM, Mulayam photos on letterheads

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has warned that action will be taken against members of the ruling Samajwadi Party who are found using his or party president Mulayam Singh Yadav's photographs on their letterheads and visiting cards. In a communication to district presidents and general secretaries, Akhilesh has asked them to communicate the message to party workers in upcoming meetings of district units and Assembly-level committees.

"If any party worker was found using photographs of party national president or me it would be considered as an anti-party act and strict action would be taken," said Akhilesh, who is also the state SP president. Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the SP had already issued guidelines regarding the use of the party flag.

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