Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said that her government was open to talks for resolving the present impasse in the Darjeeling hills over the Gorkhaland agitation.
“Development and politics should not be mixed up. The door for political talks is now closed but it has to be opened,” said Banerjee.
However, she did not hint whether the government would invite the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership for talks, or whether she would wait for the GJM to make the first move.
“We want peace in Darjeeling and I’m here with a peace message. Let there be development,” she said after arriving at Bagdogra airport for her visit of north Bengal.
Mamata reached the foothills en route to Darjeeling to attend a programme by the Lepchas, who have maintained strict silence on the issue.
The hills are witnessing bandhs, ‘janata curfews’ and other disruptive ways of agitation since August 3, barring a few days only.
The chief minister spared no opportunity to take a dig at the GJM. Without naming the Morcha Banerjee added, “They have food at their houses and their kids are in foreign schools. Rs 300 crore are lying unused. The hills would have seen a lot of development had the money been utilized”.
Banerjee’s comments came at a time when Bimal Gurung’s (GJM) has virtually ruled out talks with the state government and the GJM leadership has made clear their intentions that they want to talk to the Centre only.
GJM was especially annoyed with state government’s use of police and paramilitary forces in cracking down the Gorkhaland agitations.
“I love democratic movements and I love democratic set ups. But it is not good when someone calls bandhs every six months and tries to tinker with constitutional obligations. Bengal would remain united,” she said.