All-party meet convened by CM to be held today

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Kolkata, Jun 17 (UNI) With the agitation over the demand for Gorkhaland spiralling out of proportion, an all-party meeting in West Bengal will discuss today the situation in the Darjeeling hills.

Convened by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the meeting will be attended by all major political parties, except the Opposition Trinamool Congress and SUCI.

The Chief Minister separately invited the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for a dialogue on June 18, but the outfit rejected it and demanded tripartite talks with the Centre and the State Government.

Today's meeting is expected to discuss all issues, including those relating to the economy of Darjeeling, and make an appeal to the GJM, spearheading the statehood movement, to come to the negotiations table.

''We are ready to discuss any problem, including economic and social, pertaining to the people living in Darjeeling. An appeal will be made to more political parties to help defuse the tension there,'' PWD Minister Kshiti Goswami said.

However, the ruling Left Front and the Opposition Congress have already rejected the Gorkhaland demand and made it clear that the state cannot be divided.

Meanwhile, the GJM resumed an indefinite shutdown in three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong yesterday to press for its demand.

Siliguri, Dooars and Tarai areas in the plains which had earlier witnessed turmoil over the GJM agitation have been kept out of the purview of the bandh.

Yesterday GJM supremo Bimal Gurung had called upon the hills people to stock food for 45 days to sustain during the prolonged shutdown in the hills.

UNI KDG DPM AB 1148

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