Decision to withdraw Darjeeling stir brings GJM rift to the fore

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks during a meeting with Darjeeling based political parties on Darjeeling issues at the State Secretariat near Kolkata on Tuesday

She was speaking after GJM convenor Tamang said in Darjeeling that the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has put off its indefinite bandh from tomorrow till the next round of talks with the West Bengal government on September 12. "They will have their meeting tomorrow to take the final decision on bandh". Meanwhile, President of the party Bimal Gurung, who is on the run, in an audio spoken in Nepali, said, "The bandh will continue as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already said that she has no constitutional power, why wait for September 12th".

According to reports, following its Central committee's meeting at Kurseong in afternoon, GJM leader Binay Tamang, who led GJM delegation to Nabanna on Tuesday, declared that there will be no strike in Darjeeling hills from Sept 1 to 12.

GJM joint secretary (central committee), Binoy Tamang, while hinting at the failure of Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), said, "No other alternative or modified bodies will do justice to our plight and apathy of being lumped with any other arrangement other than creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland".

A decision on whether to recommence the strike or withdraw it completely will be taken on September 13 depending on the outcome of the talks with the state government on September 12.

While addressing the media, Banerjee said, "I am happy that the dialogue started but the Gorkhaland demand is not in my hand". People of the Hills are suffering, schools are closed.

"Protest programmes were withdrawn by the unilateral decision of Binay Tamang", he said, adding "We will not accept his decision". Tamang told reporters after a rally in Kusreong during the day, "Bimal Gurung is behaving in an adamant and foolish way".

However, continuing with his hardline stance on the issue GJM supremo Bimal Gurung had rejected the proposal. "A decision on the withdrawal of the strike will be taken", Mr. Tamang said.

Many Gorkhas feel that Tamang is slowly edging out Gurung as the most powerful Gorkha leader - the same way he sidelined GNLF leader Subhash Ghising.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that she could not agree on Gorkhaland simple because it is the matter of the Centre.


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