Gorkha National Liberation Front

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Gorkha National Liberation Front
Chairperson Subhash Ghisingh
Founded 1980
Headquarters Dr. Zakir Hussain Road, Darjeeling, (West Bengal)
Ideology Gorkhaland Autonomy
Politics of India
Political parties
Elections

Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) (Nepali: गोर्खा राष्ट्रिय मुक्ति मोर्चा) is a political party in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India. It was formed in 1980 by Subhash Ghisingh with the objective of demanding a Gorkhaland state within India.[1]

Early history[edit]

During the 1980s, the GNLF led an intensive and often violent campaign for the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state in the Nepali-speaking areas of northern West Bengal (Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai).[2] The movement reached its peak around 1985–1986. On 22 August 1988, the GNLF, under Subhash Ghisingh, signed the Darjeeling Hill Accord, which created the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in exchange for the GNLF giving up its demand for Gorkhaland.

Electoral history[edit]

State assembly[edit]

GNLF boycotted the West Bengal state assembly elections in 1991. In the assembly elections in 1996, 2001, and 2006, GNLF won three assembly seats, one each from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.

Lok Sabha[edit]

In 1989, GNLF candidate Inderjeet Khuller, a former journalist covering the Gorkhaland agitation and a close friend of Subhash Ghisingh, won the Darjeeling (Lok Sabha constituency) elections. GNLF supported Inderjeet as the Indian National Congress candidate in 1991, who won the Lok Sabha elections riding on GNLF support. GNLF boycotted the Lok Sabha elections in 1996, 1998, and 1999, which were won by CPI(M) candidates. Ahead of the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the GNLF supported the Congress party candidate Dawa Narbula, who won with a big margin from the Darjeeling constituency. In the 2009 elections, GNLF was out of power in the hills and did not field any candidate or support any party and the Lok Sabha seat was won by Jaswant Singh of BJP with the support from GJMM.

Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council[edit]

The GNLF administered the DGHC with Subhash Ghisingh as the chairman of the council from 1988 to 2004 for three successive terms. Subhash Ghisingh was appointed the sole caretaker of the DGHC from 2005 to 2008 as no election for the DGHC was held.[3]

Sixth Schedule[edit]

A Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) was signed between the Central Government, the State Government and the GNLF for the establishment of a Sixth Schedule tribal council called the Gorkha Hill Council in the DGHC area on 6 December 2005. After some initial support, there was widespread opposition to the Sixth Schedule council, led by leaders like Madan Tamang of ABGL.

Downfall[edit]

The DGHC elections were due in 2004. However, the government decided not to hold elections and instead made Subhash Ghisingh the sole caretaker of the DGHC till the Sixth Schedule council was established.[4] Resentment among the former councillors of DGHC grew rapidly. Among them, Bimal Gurung, once the trusted aide of Ghising, decided to break away from the GNLF. Riding on a mass support for Prashant Tamang, an Indian Idol contestant from Darjeeling, Bimal quickly capitalized on the public support he received for supporting Prashant, and was able to overthrow Ghisingh from the seat of power. Ghising decided to shift residence to Jalpaiguri and GNLF lost most of its support and cadres to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, a new party headed by Bimal Gurung.

West Bengal assembly elections 2011[edit]

After lying in political hibernation for three years, GNLF chief Subhash Ghisingh announced that his party would contest the West Bengal Legislative Assembly elections 2011. Subhash Ghisingh returned to Darjeeling on 8 April 2011 ahead of the assembly elections after three years of "exile".[5] All the three GNLF candidates, Bhim Subba from Darjeeling, Prakash Dahal from Kalimpong and Pemu Chettri from Kurseong lost the elections held on 18 April 2011.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rai, Joel (12 June 2008). "Redrawing the map of Gorkhaland". IndianExpress.com. Indian Express. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Pradhan, Keshav (18 January 2010). "Gorkhaland an unfinished mission". TimesOfIndia.IndiaTimes.com. The Times of India. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Subhas Ghising resigns". Hindu.com. The Hindu. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Gorkhaland is my monkey". DarjeelingTimes.com. Darjeeling Times. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  5. ^ TNN (9 April 2011). "Ghisingh back in Hills after 3 yrs". TimesOfIndia.IndiaTimes.com. The Times of India. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "West bengal State Assembly Elections 2011 Candidate List". IBNlive.in.com. Indian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 13 June 2012.