Bimal Gurung pins hopes on negotiation committee to help resolve the Darjeeling impasse

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Darjeeling, October 12: With the Centre failing to meet the self-proclaimed deadline to announce date for talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM,) Bimal Gurung is now pinning hopes on a committee which, according to media reports, has been constituted by the Union Government to help resolve the Darjeeling impasse.

File photo of Bimal Gurung

According to media reports, the committee, working in tandem with the West Bengal Government will thrash out a permanent solution for the Darjeeling impasse.

Incidentally, on September 26, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had made an appeal to Gurung to lift the bandh. Singh had assured that a meeting between the Union Government and the GJM to work out a permanent solution to the Darjeeling impasse will be held within a fortnight (from 26th September.)

Based on this Minister Singh's assurances, Gurung had ordered the lifting of the bandh from September 27. The bandh had then hit the 104th day mark.

With the "fortnight" deadline for the meeting having expired and the Centre having failed to announce the date for the meeting; Gurung on Wednesday had claimed that Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia is taking care of things in Delhi and would announce the date for the meeting on Thursday.

On Thursday, there were newspaper reports that the Union Home Ministry has formed a negotiation committee to initiate a dialogue with the Mamata Banerjee Government and GJM to work out a permanent solution to the ongoing impasse.

The report claimed that the Union Government will not directly intervene but will help the State Government work out a permanent solution. The report further claimed that date for talks will be fixed in consultation with Mamata Banerjee.

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Gurung reacting to these political developments, over phone from an undisclosed location stated "The Centre has constituted a committee. It is the fruit of the sacrifice made by the people for 104 days. Something great will transpire. However we have to remain patient and without getting worked up emotionally."

When questioned on the Centre's decision to involve bête noire Mamata Banerjee led Government to resolve the impasse, Gurung stated "The State Government has to be involved. We are not demanding a separate country. We are demanding a State to be carved out of West Bengal. The West Bengal Government has to be involved in the process." stated Gurung.

Political pundits however speculate that if the committee constituted by the Union Government approaches Mamata Banerjee for tripartite talks and even if Banerjee agrees, she will definitely negate any scope of dialogue with Gurung.

She will instead press for Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa to represent the GJM in tripartite talks.
There are posts doing the round in social media that Gurung will make a public appearance on October 30 in Darjeeling. When questioned on this Gurung stated "I might come out in public on October 30. People want me to come out. I will come out with thousands of supporters from the Hills, Terai and Dooars."

Incidentally, Gurung charged in numerous cases and also under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA,) is on the run. There are a Lookout notice and an Arrest warrant in his name.

Political commentators feel that Gurung is merely testing ground. The Government has managed to successfully isolate him. There have been a number of raids by the West Bengal police in Sikkim. However, he had managed to slip away.

Meanwhile, the Janmukti Asthahi Karmachari Sanghatan (association of adhoc GTA workers affiliated to the GJM) dissolved the old committee and constituted a new central committee on Thursday in Darjeeling. The new committee with Anil Rai as President has pledged support to the Binay Tamang faction of the GJM.

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