The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is demanding a separate Gorkhaland, on Monday, asserted it would now carry on its separatist agitation through dialogue.
Climbing down from earlier threats of a violent agitation, GJM chief Bimal Gurung propagated the need for a Delhi centric agitation that would be non-violent and democratic.
A mellowed Gurung was addressing suppor ters in Kurseong, during the commemoration of the GJM foundation day on Monday.
“I was trying to feel the pulse of the people with threats of a violent agitation. Our agitation will be democratic in nature. We will take more than a lakh people from Darjeeling during the winter session of Parliament to Delhi where we will stage dharnas. If Delhi can carve out Telangana, why not Gorkhaland?” questioned Gurung.
With over 1,000 GJM leaders and supporters arrested by the Mamata Banerjee government as a crackdown on the movement, Gurung also urged people to scale down their celebrations of Dassain - the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar.
“We must also remember that many of our supporters are behind bars for supporting the cause of Gorkhaland and will not be celebrating Dassain. Our prayers and sympathies are with them and their families,” he said.
“T he issue can be only resolved through dialogue. The Hills are banking their hopes on the tripartite talks between the Centre, state and the GJM slated for October 23. We are optimistic that the talks will yield positive results,” added Gurung.
Gurung who had earlier waved off any scope for bilateral talks with the state government, answered questions put forward by mediapersons.
“If the state calls us for talks we will definitely attend. Our 3 MLAs will represent the party,” he said.
Gurung in his public address ruled out any possibility of the Trinamool Congress causing a dent in the GJM’s support base.
“The GTA is under us. The 3 MLAs owe allegiance to the GJM. The MP is backed by the GJM. The four Hill municipalities are also under us. In the 80’s after the GNLF agitation the CPI(M) had a 40% presence in the Hills yet they could not exercise any control here. Now with a 15% presence, the TMC is not a factor,” claimed Gurung.
Training guns at the state government, Gurung reiterated that the state had embarked on a divide and rule policy in the Hills.
Countering allegations of widespread cor ruption levelled by the TMC against the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration during the tenure of Gurung as the chief executive, he said, “I was hardly the chief for a year and then I resigned for Gorkhaland. If they have corruption charges against me, why don’t they arrest me?”
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports of the state initiating process for the formation of a Tamang Development Board for the all-round development of the community, on the lines of the Lepcha Development Board.