Darjeeling, October 3, 2017: With fast changing political equations in the Hills, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Bimal Gurung stated that he is ready to hold bipartite talks with the Union Government if Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is not ready to sit across the table with him.
During the recent Gorkhaland agitation the GJM seeking the Union Government's intervention had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Minister Singh had categorically stated that as Home is a State subject the West Bengal Government has to convene tripartite talks.
Later in a political maneuver the State Government had nominated a board to run the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) with rebel GJM leader Binay Tamang as the Chairman. This resulted in a vertical crack in the GJM.
The state Government then started propping Tamang. CM Mamata Banerjee held two round of talks with the rebel leader on the Darjeeling crisis.
Meanwhile after an appeal made by Union Home Minister Singh on September 26 to end the indefinite bandh assuring Gurung and his men of talks with the Union Government on "all related issues," Gurung declared the lifting of the bandh that had touched the 104 day mark.
However in the appeal the Union Home Minister had not clarified the nature (whether bipartite or tripartite) of the Delhi talks neither had he assured that talks would be held on the Gorkhaland issue, preferring "all related issues" instead.
Gurung, when confronted with the question as to what will be the fate of the meeting if West Bengal Chief Minister or the State Government does not want to sit with him, Gurung stated "Then we will hold bipartite talks with the Centre. On the assurances of Union Home Minister that talks would be held within a fortnight, we had lifted the bandh."
When asked whether he would attend the talks in Delhi as speculations were rife that the State Government could try to arrest him in Delhi or during the journey, Gurung stated "I am leading an agitation. Getting arrested is part of an agitation. If the situation demands and I decide to go to Delhi, I will go. Fear of arrest will not stop me."
Gurung implicated in numerous cases and charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is on the run.
To foil the State Government's conspiracy to arrest me and derail the Gorkhaland agitation I am residing in jungles. Soon I will be amidst you" was Gurung's message to the public.
Gurung then questioned Binay Tamang's locus standi to attend talks. "Tamang is not elected. He was nominated as the Chairman of the Board of Administrators by the Chief Minister. How did the Chief Minister nominate him? He is also implicated in hundreds of cases like me. For their own political benefit the West Bengal Government is creating such a situation" alleged Gurung.
Gurung stated that only after date for the Delhi talk is confirmed the composition of the GJM team will be finalized. Meanwhile prior to the Delhi talks a BJP team led by State BJP President will be arriving at Kalimpong on Wednesday.
Political commentators feel that the BJP want to test the ground before the Delhi talks. Already there is growing resentment among the masses over Delhi's calculated silence during the agitation period and the prolonged bandh.
Rebel leader Tamang has asked the BJP to clarify their stand on the Gorkhaland issue before their Hill visit. He has warned the BJP of facing protests and demonstrations in the Hills.
"The BJP has won parliamentary elections twice on the Gorkhaland plank but have utterly failed to address the Gorkhaland issue" alleged Tamang.
Gurung however has appealed to the masses to meet the BJP delegation and apprise them of the alleged police excesses in the Hills and how the Gorkhas have been suppressed by the State Government. "GJM leaders will also be meeting the BJP team and apprising them of the present situation" added Gurung.
Ghosh along with other state leaders will be arriving at Kalimpong on Wednesday. "They will be attending Dusserah Milan Samaraho at the Marwari Palace in Kalimpong on Wednesday and the GDNS Hall in Darjeeling on Thursday. The State President will have an interactive session with the public, political leaders and intellectuals in Kalimpong and Darjeeling" stated Manoj Dewan, BJP Darjeeling District President. From Darjeeling the team will be visiting Sikkim.
Dubbing the BJP teams visit as "fishing in troubled waters" veteran CPIM leader Ashok Bhattacharya talking to media persons in Siliguri on Tuesday stated "Instead of trying to create further unrest, the BJP should try to press the Union Government to arrange for tripartite talks between the Union, State and the GJM so that the impasse can be diffused and a solution can be found at the earliest."