Congress rejects GJM's separate statehood demand

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Kolkata, Jun 14 (UNI) Rejecting the statehood demand for Darjeeling, the Congress today said it would participate in the proposed all-party meeting, called by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to find a solution to the problem.

''In no way do we want division of Bengal. If necessary, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) can be given more power and funds,'' Union Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said.

Stressing that the problem could be solved only through proper dialogues, Mr Dasmunsi said he had written to the Chief Minister confirming his participation in the June 17 meeting.

He, however, opined that the presence of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which had not been invited in the proposed meet, was necessary.

''It would have been better if the GJM was invited. We could have listened to them,'' he said.

The Chief Minister has invited GJM chief Bimal Gurung at a separate meeting with the state government on June 18, which the outfit has rejected.

In reply to a question on the likely non-participation of the Trinamool Congress in the all-party meeting, Mr Dasmunsi said every political party in Bengal should attend it.

''I would not comment on what Mamata Banerjee says, but all parties should participate in the all-party meeting,'' he said.

Yesterday, Ms Banerjee said her party would not participate in the proposed meeting if the GJM was not invited.

UNI KDG DPM AKJ AS1821

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