"Your tears will never go to waste. Wait for the right atmosphere" - Says MP SS Ahluwalia
Writes: Vivek Chhetri
S.S. Ahluwalia, the Darjeeling MP and the Union minister of state for agriculture and parliamentary affairs, yesterday referred to "increase in the air traffic at Bagdogra" to convey a subtle message to Bimal Gurung to refrain from agitation and instead, wait for the right atmosphere for the "dream" to be fulfilled.
On Thursday, Gurung had said he would quit the GTA "in the next two to two-and-a-half months" and start an agitation for a separate state.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha here yesterday to felicitate the Darjeeling MP for being appointed as the Union minister of state, Ahluwalia said: "An official of the Bagdogra airport recently told me that I was a lucky mascot. I asked him why and he said after the April 17 election (the day Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency went to polls in 2014), air traffic had gone up by 10 times. I asked him what it had to do with Darjeeling and he said even those wanting to visit Sikkim would not come earlier because of bandhs in the hills."
"Then I told the official that I was not the lucky mascot but it was Bimal Gurung. I said on April 14, 2014, I had told Gurung at a public meeting that he should announce that there would be no bandh in Darjeeling and anything that needs to be done to get the demand (Gorkhaland state) fulfilled would be done in Calcutta and Delhi. On April 15, at the motor stand public meeting, he made the announcement," said Ahluwalia.
"We won the constituency and the air traffic has also increased. The people who will fulfil your dreams do not stay in Darjeeling but they stay in Calcutta and Delhi. Whatever needs to be done has to be done there," the MP said.
Ahluwalia said it was most important to create the right atmosphere (in Delhi) to get the demand fulfilled and cited the example of Parliament passing the GST Bill.
"Your tears will never go to waste. After taking over parliamentary affairs, we managed to have a successful session and pass the GST Bill. For two years, there was uproar (against the bill). Someone asked me what changed things. I said it was the atmosphere. The bill was the same, demand was the same, negotiators were same. But the atmosphere was different. It is important to create the right atmosphere," said Ahluwalia.
Gurung, who spoke after Ahluwalia, said: "The Bengal government is not allowing the GTA to function properly. The Centre must also take note of this. The Bengal government cries of interference by the Centre but they should realise that they, too, are interfering in the GTA. After finding that the GTA is not being allowed to function properly, I have said we are going back to our agitation as we can never compromise on statehood."