Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Ajoy Edwards back in Darjeeling, keen on ‘new party’

Ajoy Edwards
Ajoy Edwards at Rohini on the outskirts of Siligiru on Sunday (Picture by Passang Yolmo)

DARJEELING, SEPTEMBER 6: Ajoy Edwards on Sunday received a warm welcome from supporters on his return to Darjeeling after nearly a month, the former GNLF leader dropping broad hints that he would float a new political party “different” from the rest in the hills.

Edwards, also an entrepreneur and social worker, had earlier claimed that GNLF president Mann Ghisingh had sent him to Delhi early last month to bring together like-minded forces to pursue the proposed “permanent political solution” of the hills but was ditched by Mann. Edwards alleged Mann did not bother to contact him in Delhi when the former went to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah in August first week.
Mann has not responded to the allegations.
On reaching Darjeeling, Edwards said: “We have to open a party, politics is the highest form of social work.”
He, however, said that he would stand as “a voice of the silent majority” and if the need arose would also contest the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) polls.
“In politics, diplomacy is needed with both the State and Centre, but we should not be subservient (to them)”, said Edwards, who clearly stated that while the issue of Gorkhaland was always there, development and economic well-being of the downtrodden should also be taken care of.
Neeraj Zimba, Darjeeling MLA and GNLF’s secretary general, said: “Let his first float a political party, he will understand what it is to run a party”, said Zimba.
Edwards hasn’t yet officially handed his written resignation to the GNLF. However, the GNLF appointed M Subba as chief of the GNLF Darjeeling Branch Committee on Sunday, a post Edwards held.
The GNLF leadership also went hammer and tongs at Edwards. “I had earlier said he is not a politician, he is a social worker…He talks Bengal’s language, he talks like a nephew of Mamata Banerjee, he talks of ‘ramro (good)’ Darjeeling not ‘hamro (our)’ Darjeeling, because he is a businessman and if there is a strike his business will not flourish”, said Zimba.

“When our people were killed (during the Gorkhaland agitation), should we not go for strikes”, said Zimba, adding they too had many issues to expose on Edwards. (Courtesy: TT)