Ahead of the crucial tripartite talks on Gorkhaland issue on Monday, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that the issue could be resolved through dialogue and warned that if the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership stuck to its demand for a separate state, the situation might turn “critical”.

Asked whether the Gorkhaland demand could be resolved through dialogue, Mr. Mukherjee told reporters after an internal meeting here with senior officials of Central Excise and Customs, “I don’t think there is any problem which cannot be resolved through discussion”.

When told that the GJM was still sticking to its demand for a separate statehood, Mr. Mukherjee said, “If anyone is arrogant on their demand and is not flexible enough, then the situation may go critical.”

“Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has already spoken to the GJM leadership in this regard and I am sure that the problem can be resolved through discussion,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

The GJM responding to the appeal of Mr. Chidambaram, decided to “relax” the indefinite hunger strike in Darjeeling, for creating a conducive atmosphere for Monday’s tripartite talks.