Siliguri, June 11 (IANS) In a bid to increase its presence in the Darjeeling hills, West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress Monday inducted hundreds of dissident supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) into its fold.
Trinamool's move to induct party workers of both GJM and GNLF -- the two main pro-Gorkhaland political parties of the hills -- comes within a day of GJM's threat to renew violent agitation over their disappointment with the report placed by the high-powered committee on additional areas in the proposed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in northern West Bengal.
Today (Monday) a total of 972 political activists from different political parties joined Trinamool Congress. Of these, most belong to either GJM or GNLF. It will definitely increase our strength in the hills, said Gautam Deb, North Bengal Development minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader.
Upset over a high-powered committee's report on additional areas to be included in the proposed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in northern West Bengal, the GJM has called a 72-hour shutdown from July 2.
The committee was set up July 29 last year after the GJM demanded 398 additional mouzas (area less than a sub-division) spread over Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts to be included in the GTA -- a new hill council that would run the administration in Darjeeling area.
The committee said only five mouzas - two in Jalpaiguri district and three in Darjeeling district - fulfilled all the criteria for being part of the GTA.