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Featured Image: File photo of a GJM rally in Darjeeling. 

By A Newsman

Darjeeling, 11 September: DARJEELING based Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Friday said that all its MLAs will step down from West Bengal Assembly on 23 September to protest the interference by the state government in the functioning of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration  (GTA).

GTA is an autonomous body established in 2011 under a Bengal state legislation to govern the hill areas of Darjeeling district.

A tripartite meeting of GTA with the state and Central governments scheduled for 15 September has also been deferred, but this is due to administrative reasons.

“The state government is interring in GTA functioning on a day-to-day-basis and has been disregarding several key provisions of the GTA Agreement that was inked on 18 July 2011. Protesting this, all our three MLAs will step down on 23 September,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said Friday evening.

The three GJM MLAs are ~ Trilok Dewan from Darjeeling Assembly segment, Rohit Sharma from Kurseong and Harka Bahadur Chhetri from Kalimpong.

The announcement comes a day after the GJM chief and chief executive of GTA Bimal Gurung on Thursday threatening to “quit GTA in just 10 minutes” if the Mamata Banerjee government continued to interfere in the functioning of the autonomous body.

Mr Gurung is peeved over the state government’s embargo on construction of five new buildings in and around Mall in Darjeeling town for alleged violation of rules. He is also angry over Miss Banerjee’s decision to set up a campus of the state’s Presidency University in Kurseong.

GJM considers this a ploy to stop the establishment of a Central university in the hills, which is one of the provisions of the GTA Agreement.

Adding on this, the GJM general secretary today said that the state was not implementing several other key provisions of GTA such as establishing a separate school and college service commission for Darjeeling, transfer of a number of departments to GTA etc. “Under this circumstances, we will watch out for some more time to decide whether to continue with the GTA,” Mr Giri said.

Asked why the party has chosen 23 September for the MLAs to resign, he maintained that there was no special significance attached to the date.

Political observers however, believe that the GJM has kept 12 days to allow the Mamata Banerjee government enter into a negotiation with it.