Siliguri (West Bengal), March 13: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday softened her stand on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) agitation in the Darjeeling hills by saying that her relation with the protesting outfit was yet to reach a point of no return.
Banerjee, who had a serious difference with the GJM recently, tried to paint a rosy picture of the hills at the beginning of her three-day tour of North Bengal. The chief minister, who faced the GJM supporters' wrath wrath during her last visit to the hills in January, did not speak on the GJM's functioning and said the latter was free to make alliance with any political party.
The GJM is reportedly inching closer to the Congress after its relation with Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) deteriorated.
The GJM leadership has accused the Banerjee government of treating it in a dictatorial manner in the hills and threatened to resort to violent protest if the state government continued to treat the hills in the same way. It also slammed the state government for taking a decision to form a development council for the Lepchas against its wishes. The current situation has turned around by 180 degree after the July 2011 pact on the hills which was signed by representatives of the Centre, state government and GJM.
Recently, GJM delegates met President Pranab Mukherjee and the Union home and finance ministers and political observers felt it was a move towards seeing an alliance in the upcoming panchayat polls and also the next general elections.
The state government, meanwhile, has already sent two companies of CRPF and three platoons of RAF and IRB to the hills.
On Wednesday, Banerjee will address a public meeting in the Dooars during which she will distribute land pattas to the landless. Her Dooars visit is considered to be one aimed to woo adivasis ahead of the panchayat polls.