Tripartite talks on Gorkhaland issue on Monday failed to reach an agreement with the Centre saying political consensus needed to be created on the demand by GJM which sought the next round of political-level dialogue within 45 days.
“Political consensus needs to be created which is not there at the moment as all of you know. There was no political consensus as of today on formation of Gorkhaland,” Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, who led a five-member Central team at the talks here, told reporters after the fourth round of talks which lasted nearly three hours.
“Discussion has not been given up. I am sure we will come to a decision to find a solution which is acceptable to all,” he said.
“We met in the backdrop of Centre’s announcement in terms of steps to be created for creation of a state of Telangana and that appropriate resolution will be moved in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.
“We had detailed discussion with the state government and the GJM on various aspects of formation of Gorkhaland and the issues involved,” Mr. Pillai said, adding “We looked at various constitutional provision, as well as the manner in which new states are created,” he said.
The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) meanwhile expressed satisfaction at the talks and relaxed its agitation in the hills till December 25.
West Bengal Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakraborty, who represented the state government at the talks, said “legal formalities for creation of a separate state were not discussed. There were talks for discussion at the political level. We are not political people. We will inform our government. GJM mainly wanted to discuss Gorkhaland issue."
Noting that the GJM had indicated that it would like the next round of talks to be held at political level within 45 days, Pillai said it would be placed before the respective governments, “and we will revert to GJM by 45 days“.
Asked if the government had accepted the formation of Gorkhaland, he reiterated, “We have indicated, all of you are aware, that there is no political consensus as of today.”
Asked if Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), set up in 1988, would continue to function, he said “In the last tripartite meeting on August 11, it was agreed to abolish DGHC and work for an alternative framework in Darjeeling.”
Neither the GJM nor the West Bengal government, he said, had finalised their views on an interim arrangement in the case of abolition of the DGHC, but the Centre had a proposal which was not placed at the tripartite talks.
He said since the discussion was only on formation of a state and the legal and political requirements before it could be formed, “We did not place it. We will place it at the appropriate time.”
Asked if Union territory status for Darjeeling was discussed, Pillai said “No, such thing was not discussed.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, who led a 16-member delegation, said “We are happy that at today’s meeting only Gorkhaland was discussed and we have made out position clear that only creation of Gorkhaland will solve the problem.”
He announced that the agitation in the hills was being relaxed till December 25 in view of Christmas.
“The agitation will be relaxed till December 25, but will resume from next day and hunger—strike will restart on December 27 in which students will take part.”
Asserting that he was ready to sacrifice his life for Gorkhaland, GJM chief Bimal Gurung told a huge rally after the talks that the Gorkhas no longer wished to live under the ’colonial rule’ of West Bengal. “We are happy that talks were held only on Gorkhaland.”