Mamata for elections in Darjeeling, GTA intractable

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today asserted that elections would be held in Darjeeling with the setting up of the new hill council Gorkha Territorial Administration, but the GJM was not willing to concede it.

"GTA agreement has been made and election will be held in accordance with it," she told reporters at the state secretariat.

President Pratibha Patil recently gave assent to the Gorkha Territorial Administration Bill for establishment of the hill council.

GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri, however, said that his party was sticking to its demand that it would not participate in elections till areas in the Dooars and Terai in the plains were added to the jurisdiction of the GTA.

"We cannot go for election till the added areas in Dooars and Terai are included in the GTA. We urge the chief minister to find a way. Till that does not happen let the GTA be a nominated body or an interim set up," Giri told PTI from Darjeeling.

Giri wanted inclusion of 400 mouzas from the Terai and Dooars in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts. According to the agreement, the autonomous GTA would be a 45-member body in comparison to the 28 members of the current Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.