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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

GJM chief rules out talks with Mamata, rests hopes on Centre

Amitava Bannerjee, Hindustan Times  Darjeeling, August 06, 2013
First Published: 13:04 IST(6/8/2013) | Last Updated: 13:11 IST(6/8/2013)

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung is banking on the Centre to provide him with the much required political space for a respectable retraction from the ongoing indefinite bandh that he has clamped in the Darjeeling Hills.

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Spurred by the UPA’s decision to crave out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, the GJM has launched a renewed agitation for Gorkhaland. On the heels of a 72-hour bandh, an indefinite bandh has been clamped in the Darjeeling Hills since August 3.

Gurung has made it clear that dialogues are acceptable only with the Centre.

A pointer to this is the GJM’s decision to rush a delegation to Delhi, which is meeting leaders of the ruling and opposition parties.

“I will not talk to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee or the state government. As soon as we get an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, I will depart for Delhi,” said Gurung, talking to the media in Kalimpong on Monday.

The GJM delegation in Delhi has confirmed this stand.

“We have met Congress leaders in Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh. We are trying to fix up an appointment with the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson. The Congress leaders have assured us of help,” said Harka Bahadur Chettri, GJM MLA and spokesperson.

The GJM delegation in Delhi met BJP leaders including party president Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj.

“Both have agreed to place the Gorkhaland case in front of the BJP Parliamentary committee,” said GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.

“The BJP supports the Gorkhaland demand. We have apprised all the leaders of both the ruling and opposition camps that the Gorkhaland Territorial

Administration has become redundant and that Gorkhaland along can fulfill the aspiration of the masses,” added Chettri.

However political observers feel that a tripartite talk between the Centre, State and the GJM could be in the offing.

With Mamata reluctant to sit across the table with Gurung and the GJM president also holding similar reservations, the Centre could mediate to diffuse the situation, feel observers.

The attitude of the state has definitely rubbed the GJM and particularly Gurung the wrong way.

Mamata’s frequent antiGorkhaland statements during her visits to the Hills, her proclamation of being “rough and tough” has upset Gurung.


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