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All-party meet on Darjeeling crisis a dud with Opposition set to boycott

Opposition parties in West Bengal have criticised chief minister Mamata Banerjee for being out of the on a day when all-party meeting to discuss the situation in Darjeeling was scheduled.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2017 21:37 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Darjeeling,All-party meet,Mamata Banerjee
Opposition parties in Bengal have said they will boycott an all-party meeting to discuss the situation in Darjeeling which is now under an indefinite strike as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) agitates for a Gorkhaland state.(AFP)

With chief minister Mamata Banerjee in The Netherlands, all opposition parties in West Bengal have decided to stay away from Thursday’s all-party meet to discuss the Darjeeling crisis.

Though the meeting was announced by Banerjee before she left for Netherlands on an official tour, many parties, including the BJP, said they did not receive any invitation from the government.

The CPI(M) was more blunt, saying that Banerjee’s absence would reduce the meeting to a meaningless exercise.

The CPI(M)-led Left Front was the first to decide to skip the meeting. Left Front convener in Darjeeling district, Jibesh Sarkar, said it would serve no purpose.

“The meeting is crucial considering the situation in Darjeeling. But the chief minister called the meeting on a day when she would be out of the country. A couple of ministers and some bureaucrats would not be able to take any call,” Sarkar said.

State Congress president and MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the meeting would be a farce in the absence of the chief minister.

Read more: Darjeeling crisis: GJM offers 12-hour ‘window’ to schools to evacuate students

“This meeting should have been a state- level meeting and not a district-level meeting considering the gravity of the situation. Secondly, by convening the meeting in the absence of the chief minister, the government has proved that it is not really serious. We find no reason to attend,” Chowdhury said.

The BJP, which has three MLAs in Bengal assembly, will also boycott the meeting. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the state government did not send any official communication.

SUCI (Communist) spokesman, Shoumen Basu also said the government did not send any invitation. “Probably we are untouchables,” Basu said.

Darjeeling has been rocked by violence following an agitation by supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 21:37 IST