A political consensus that is required but not there at the moment as well as other aspects of the Gorkhaland issue were discussed at the fourth round of talks among the Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling on Monday.
A GJM suggestion that the next round of discussions be held at a “political level” within 45 days will be referred to the Centre and the State government for their consideration.
The talks, which lasted more than two-and-half hours, were held in a bid to end the political stalemate in the Darjeeling hills arising from the GJM demand for creation of a separate State comprising Darjeeling district and certain contiguous areas. The West Bengal government has rejected the demand.
There was no agreement on the issue of a separate State as “there is no political consensus as of today for the formation of Gorkhaland,” Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said after the talks. The legal provisions and political requirements which needed to be put in place before the process of State formation could be initiated were discussed.
Besides a team of Central officials led by Mr. Pillai, those present at the discussions included West Bengal Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti and Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen. The 16-member GJM team was led by general secretary Roshan Giri.
Though the GJM expressed satisfaction that the talks revolved round the Gorkhaland issue as it had demanded, its agitation including a “fast-unto-death” by some activists would be resumed from December 26, Mr. Giri told The Hindu over telephone.
The fast programme had been suspended since December 19 to ensure a congenial atmosphere for the tripartite talks and in deference to a request from Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
In a fiery speech at a public rally shortly after the talks, GJM president Bimal Gurung, who stayed away from the meeting, said the movement for Gorkhaland would continue until statehood was achieved.
“We have to go to the end in our struggle.”
The issue of an interim arrangement to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council was not taken up even though the Central team went to the meeting with a proposal.
This was because neither the GJM leadership nor the State government had finalised its views on such an arrangement, Mr. Pillai said.