No more talks with state, says Gurung – Morcha team leaves for Delhi

The Telegraph

BIRESWAR BANERJEE

Bimal Gurung

Bagdogra, March 4: Bimal Gurung while leaving for Delhi today said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha wouldn’t hold talks with the state government any more.

“Right now, there is no question of holding talks with the state. We would prefer to talk to the Centre which is the ultimate authority to decide on our demand for Gorkhaland,” the Morcha president told journalists at Bagdogra airport before flying to Delhi where he is expected to meet the President and the home minister.

Along with Gurung, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri and Darjeeling MLA Trilok Dewan also left for the capital. The team will also meet railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Gurung alleged that the Mamata Banerjee government had indulged in politics over the hill party’s Gorkhaland demand, aggravating the situation in Darjeeling.

“As the Centre started working on the formation of Telangana (in January), we again raised our demand for Gorkhaland. The state government became annoyed with this and… resorted to politics in the hills. Such acts by the state complicated the situation in the hills,” said Gurung, who is the chief executive of the GTA Sabha.

He iterated the charge that the state was coming in the way of the proper functioning of the GTA.

“It is unfortunate that the tripartite agreement signed by the Centre, state and the Morcha for the creation of GTA has not been implemented in a full-fledged manner by the Mamata Banerjee government. This is causing inconvenience in the running of the GTA. Instead of trying to implement the deal, the state is interfering in GTA work.”

Morcha sources said Gurung would call on the President on March 6.

“Before that, our leaders will meet railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. An appointment has been sought with Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, but the time and date are yet to be finalised,” said a source.

Asked about the meeting with the railway minister, Giri said: “In the railway budget for the next fiscal, not a single project has been announced for the hills. Nor did we find any allotment for the development of railway infrastructure in the hills. We would meet Bansal and request him to do the needful.”

Gurung has said there was no move as of now to reconsider the Morcha’s call for 48-hour general strikes from March 14 and 21 and the closure of government offices from March 9 to 27 in the Darjeeling district.

“So far, we have not thought of calling off the shutdowns. However, in case there is any development in the discussions with central leaders in Delhi, we would surely give a second thought to the call for the strike,” said Gurung.

The Morcha refused to say if the tourism industry would be kept out of the purview of the strike. “We can only say all examinations would be exempted from the ambit of the strike, apart from emergency services,” said Giri.

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