Gorkhaland by 2010: Bimal Gurung

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Gangtok, Aug 13 (UNI) Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung has warned of a 'walkout' if the upcoming tripartite talks between GJM, Centre and West Bengal government did not deliberate on the 'Gorkhaland' demand.

''If Gorkhaland is not on the agenda, the GJM will walkout of the tripartite talks,'' Gurung told to visiting mediapersons from Sikkim in Darjeeling yesterday.

''Gorkhaland is a demand for our identity and no other points will be discussed apart from this,'' he added.

The GJM chief was responding to West Bengal minister Ashok Bhattarcharya's assertion that 'Gorkhaland' demand will not be discussed in the upcoming tripartite talks.

On Sunday, Mr Bhattarcharya had said that alternatives to Gorkhaland would be raised by the West Bengal government during the talks for more development of the Darjeeling hills.

''Development did not happen in the past 22 years. Will it happen now?'', Mr Gurung asked.

Asked for his expectations on the tripartite talks, Mr Gurung said he cannot say anything now adding that there will be more talks in the future. He reiterated his party's claims that Gorkhaland will happen by 2010.

On the Sikkim context, Mr Gurung stressed that relations between Darjeeling and its neighouring hill state was as 'strong' as it has been since ages. Whatever happened in past has not made any dents in the brotherly relations between Sikkim and Darjeeling, he said.

Relations between the two neighbouring hills have turned sour over the issue of NH 31 A blockade by the GJM during its regular bandh calls. NH 31 A is the sole connectivity link of Sikkim.

Mr Gurung appealed Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling to speak some words in support of Gorkhaland demand.

''Even if he (Chamling) speaks just a couple of words in favour of our demand, then it will be the biggest plus point for us. It is a great morale booster when your own people lends some support'', said Mr Gurung.

The GJM chief said the party was ready for talks with the Sikkim government to clear doubts and sort out problems faced by Sikkimese during the Gorkhaland movement.

UNI BG PC SP BST2018

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