Morcha to skip budget session

The Telegraph

VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, March 10: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung has directed the party’s four MLAs to boycott the ongoing budget session at the Assembly.

“Our party president has instructed us not to attend the Assembly. We will not be attending the ongoing budget session,” Morcha’s Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri said.

The other party MLAs are Trilok Dewan from Darjeeling, Rohit Sharma from Kurseong and Wilson Chapramary from Kalchini in the Dooars.

Although there was no formal alliance between the Morcha and Trinamul, the hill party had supported Trinamul-Congress alliance candidates in the plains for the Assembly polls.

After Trinamul came to power, the party leadership invited Morcha MLAs to sit with them in the Treasury benches.

Asked if the MLAs would stop sitting in the Treasury benches whenever they go the Assembly next and shift to the Opposition side, Chhetri said: “The final call has to be taken by the party president.”

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri also spoke on similar lines. “They (MLAs) are not attending the Assembly at the moment.”

When asked if the hill party was thinking of an alliance with the Congress, a Morcha leader said: “It is too early to talk about this. We have not discussed that yet.”

According to sources in the Morcha, they will not meet chief minister Mamata Benerjee if she visits the hills.

Mamata is supposed to visit north Bengal on March 12 but district officials said there was no word on her going to Darjeeling during the two-day trip.

“Our party president has made it clear that he will have nothing to do with the Mamata Banerjee government and will not be meeting her even if she comes to Darjeeling. Given our party president’s stand, it is just a matter of time before the Morcha MLAs are asked to move out of the Treasury benches,” said the source.

Mamata is expected to head for Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district after she lands in Bagdogra on March 12. The next day she is supposed to attend an official programme at Metelli, 20km from Malbazar.

“A number of government guest houses in and around the Chalsa-Nagrakata area have been booked and she could stay in any of them,” said an official.

Before leaving for Calcutta on March 14, Mamata is expected to meet Trinamul leaders from the Darjeeling hills. The venue has not been decided yet.

Trinamul leaders have been instructed to start political activities in the hills.

On Saturday, Trinamul held a rally at Gorubathan in Kalimpong subdivision and sources said the party leaders are looking at holding similar programmes in all the three hill subdivision of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.

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