A day after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung sought his mediation in the troubled Darjeeling hills, West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan Thursday said the party should come to him if it wanted his intervention.
"If they want my intervention, let them come and ask," Narayanan told mediapersons on the sidelines of a programme here.
The governor added: "I have made it very clear that the state of West Bengal extends from the ocean (read Bay of Bengal) to the mountains".
Speaking to reporters at an Independence Day function last week, Narayanan had said he "was willing to talk to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership".
"If he wants to talk to me, I will talk to him," Narayanan had told the media Aug 15, when asked whether he would engage in a dialogue with Gurung.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Gurung welcomed Narayanan's comments.
"We welcome the governor's announcement that he is ready to mediate. We hope he takes appropriate steps as early as possible," wrote Gurung.
The Hills in northern Bengal have been on the boil after the GJM renewed its movement for carving out a Gorkhaland state out of Darjeeling and parts of Jalpaiguri districts in the wake of the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance's endorsement last month of Telangana, to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh.
After the GJM intensified its movement by clamping shutdowns and resorting to other forms of protest in the Darjeeling hills from late last month, the state government has arrested key Morcha leaders along with hundreds of supporters and activists to crack down on the movement.
Central security forces have also been deployed in the region.