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Featured Image: File photo of Bimal Gurung and Trilok Dewan (lighting lamp) at an event in Darjeeling Hills. 

By Our Newsmen

Kolkata / Siliguri, 21 September: AFTER Harka Bahadur Chhetri, another MLA of the Darjeeling-based Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has resigned from the party citing “dictatorial” style of functioning of its president Bimal Gurung.

Trilok Kumar Dewan, the MLA from Darjeeling Assembly constituency, announced his resignation from GJM at a Press conference at West Bengal Assembly lobby in Kolkata on Monday. Dewan has alongside stepped down as an MLA.

This comes three days after the GJM Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri had resigned from the party on 18 September accusing Gurung of running the party in an autocratic manner. He however, did not relinquish the position of MLA and said that he would function as unattached to any party or group.

GJM’s third MLA, Rohit Sharma from Kurseong constituency, too has resigned as an MLA today. But his is in observance of the diktat of Gurung.

Gurung had recently announced that all GJM MLAs would step down from the Assembly to protest “interference” by Mamata Banerjee government in the affairs of Darjeeling Hills, which is governed by the autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) formed under a state law.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Rohit Sharma, Trilok Kumar Dewan.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Rohit Sharma, Trilok Kumar Dewan.

Announcing his resignation, Dewan told reporters: “I am resigning from GJM as the undemocratic dictatorial attitude of the party president has hurt my self-respect and dignity. In a meeting on 11 September, he unilaterally decided that we the MLAs would resign. Most of the central committee members were not present in that meeting and also we the MLAs were neither invited nor consulted.”

Dewan, a former Indian Civil Service (IAS) officer and the first Nepali IAS officer who had rose to the position of a state chief secretary (in Andhra Pradesh), had joined the GJM in 2008.  Party fielded him from Darjeeling in the 2011 Assembly polls and he won riding on the sentiment for a separate Gorkhaland state demanded out of Bengal.

With Chhetri and Dewan’s resignations, the Darjeeling based party finds itself grappling with an unprecedented crisis since it was formed in 2007 as part of the second bout of Gorkhaland movement. Gurung’s leadership in particular has come under questioning with many asking, why not he quit as the chief executive of GTA if government interference was the issue.

North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb said that Chhetri and Dewan were more than welcome to join the Trinamool Congress. “If people like them, who are high in intellect and administrative experience join us, it will only enrich the Trinamool in north Bengal,” Deb said.

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