Dasmunsi demands all party meeting on Darjeeling issue

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Kolkata, May 4(UNI) Union Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi today criticised the Left Front Government in West Bengal for its ''improper and immature'' handling of the situation and called for holding an all-party meeting to resolve the problem.

''The way the Darjeeling issue has been handled is improper and immature. Instead of waiting for the 6th schedule status for the Darjeeling hills, the state Government should have called for an election of the Hill Council before expiry of its term,'' he told reporters while participating in a meet the press programme here.

Mr Dasmunsi, who is also PCC President, however, made it clear that the Congress would not make it an issue for a showdown with the state government, and it would rather extend cooperation for a solution to the problem.

''As far as Darjeeling issue is concerned, we are not going to fight with the Chief Minister. We would urge the Chief Minister to convene an all-party meeting and take opinions. We shall extend all support to him,'' he said.

Mr Dasmunsi also appealed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, spearheading the agitation for a separate state, to sit for dialogues with the Chief Minister.

He said in a similar situation in the 1980s when the demand for a Gorkhaland was raised in Darjeeling, the state government and the Centre negotiated with Gorkha National Liberation Front President Subash Ghisingh to resolve the problem by creating an autonomous council.

Criticising Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattachariya for asking tourists not to visit Darjeeling because of the volatile situation, Mr Dasmunsi said such comments were sending a wrong signal about the place.

UNI KDG PC RL AS1734

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