With all eyes on today's meet, heaving breaths look to take sighs of relief
Darjeeling: All eyes are fixed on the meeting to be chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Uttarkanya on Tuesday. The meeting between the state government is aimed at restoring normalcy and peace in the Hills. The CM arrived at Siliguri on Monday. Tuesday's meeting is being seen as a political indicator. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay Tamang faction), Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and the Jan Andolan Party (JAP) will be attending the talks.
The state government has not invited the Bimal Gurung faction of the GJM to attend talks. However, they have stated that the three Hill MLAs can attend talks as public representatives but not as GJM. There has been a lot of debate over the Gurung faction attending talks. After the first round of talks in Nabanna on August 29, Gurung had criticised Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa for wanting to attend the second round of talks.
He had stated that as the CM, in the first round of talks she had declared that the separate state issue is not within the purview of the state government thus, talks with the state is uncalled for. Later, the same Gurung declared that they would send representatives to the Uttarkanya talks.
When the invitation for talks did not come, the Gurung faction rushed two GJM MLAs to CM Mamata Banerjee's Kalighat residence. Though the MLA's failed to meet the CM, they left a communication stating that a six-member GJM team including the three Hill MLAs would attend the talks and had requested for an invite.
"There is no official communication regarding the invite. The MLAs can attend as public representatives. However, with no train tickets available along with morning flight tickets, we do not know whether we will be able to make it for the talks," stated Amar Singh Rai, GJM MLA from Darjeeling.
A four-member GJM (Binay faction) will be attending the talks. "It is to be seen how the CM will diffuse the ongoing unrest. The Hill parties will definitely press for Gorkhaland. The public are expecting some kind of assurance from the CM at the end of the 90-day bandh," stated a political observer.
The Hill political parties cannot waver away from the
Gorkhaland demand. Even Tamang who is for the restoration of normalcy and peace and the lifting of the bandh, has stated that he and his friends would sit in a fast unto death any day after the Tuesday meeting if the Gorkhaland demand fails to make headway.
The state, however, is already at an advantage having managed to keep Gurung at bay. In another development, the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee suffered a jolt with the All India Gorkha League withdrawing from this conglomeration.
"We will not continue with the GMCC as we feel that the GMCC has managed to work towards the greater aspiration of the people. It is just a shadow of the GJM with the GJM unilaterally announcing decisions even before GMCC meets and the GMCC reiterating it. The GMCC also has a pick-and-choose policy regarding the constituents. Under these conditions, we feel that the GMCC will not be able to serve its purpose. We hereby withdraw from the GMCC," stated AIGL General Secretary Pratap Khati.
The GMCC has dubbed it as unfortunate. "Withdrawing from the GMCC raises serious questions on their sincerity towards the cause. The need of the hour is unity," stated Kalyan Dewan, Coordinator, GMCC. Regarding the ongoing bandh, other Hill parties have stated that the onus lies on the GJM. "GJM is the party which had called the bandh. They have to take responsibility of the consequences," stated Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri, president, JAP.