April 23: A Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation today met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Writers’ Buildings in Calcutta to convey party chief Bimal Gurung’s “best wishes” to her.
“We came to meet her because she has not been feeling well. We conveyed our (the GTA) chief executive’s best wishes for her prompt recovery. He has also invited the chief minister to the Darjeeling hills,” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said after the meeting.
He was accompanied by party leaders Rohit Sharma and Harka Bahadur Chhetri.
The meeting in Calcutta coincided with the GTA Sabha’s decision on who should be appointed its principal secretary, a matter that had added to the unpleasantness on both sides.
Today’s meeting in Calcutta signalled a thaw in the Morcha’s relations with the state government, a matter on which Gurung had dropped a hint at a meeting in Mungpoo on April 3.
“It is in my hand to further deteriorate the situation. But I do not want to deteriorate it further,” he had said.
Relations between the state government and the Morcha soured after January 29 when Mamata at Chowrastha said Darjeeling “is a part of us”.
Today’s meeting was the first reconciliatory gesture by the Morcha since then.
According to Giri, Mamata asked them about the functioning of the GTA Sabha and asked the trio to “efficiently” carry out development work in the hills.
“For a review of the implementation of the GTA agreement, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee will come to the hills on May 13. On April 30, we will come to Writers’ for a meeting with chief secretary Sanjay Mitra,” Giri said.
In Darjeeling, Gurung today held a meeting with all Sabha members at Singmari and later announced: “We have decided to propose the name of R.D. Meena as the next principal secretary of the GTA.”
Sources said Gurung had zeroed in on Meena from among the four names sent by the government because he is the seniormost and approaching retirement.
“The GTA Sabha members were of the opinion that junior officers who have many years to serve would always think of their career and would, hence, be more inclined to keep the state government in good humour. The members were of the opinion that Meena would not unnecessarily try to please the state government and would work more or less independently as he would not have to think of his career,” a Morcha source said.