In a shift from its earlier stand, elected Sabha members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) participated in a meeting on Monday of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), the regional autonomous body, nearly two months since the start of the renewed movement for the creation of Gorkhaland.

The development comes ahead of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to the hills later this week. The GJM Sabha members had boycotted the GTA meetings demanding the release of their arrested colleagues and workers during the recent agitation for Statehood.

“From today onwards, all the elected GJM Sabha members will attend the meeting of the GTA. GJM president Bimal Gurung had said earlier this month that the party wants to initiate dialogue with the State government and the decision to attend the meeting is a response to that,” Rohit Sharma, GJM MLA told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling.

The elected GJM Sabasads to the GTA have not been attending the meeting ever since Mr. Gurung resigned from the regional autonomous body in the last week of July, Mr. Sharma said.

Ramesh Allay, the GTA deputy chief executive, has been given pro-tem charge to function as chief executive of the body in the absence of Benoy Tamang who is presently in jail.

The GJM had decided last month to put on hold its Gorkhaland agitation following an assurance from Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde that tripartite talks among the State, Centre and those spearheading the agitation, including GJM leaders, would be held.

The tripartite talks were scheduled on October 23 but the GJM leadership fears that the meeting will be postponed as they have not yet received any official communication about it, said GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.

  Meanwhile, all the three GJM MLAs from the hills will meet Ms. Banerjee when she arrives there.

“It is the protocol to meet the Chief Minister when she arrives here. We are still waiting for an appointment and hope that we will get it in a day or two,” Mr. Sharma said.

Ms. Banerjee’s visit to the Darjeeling hills assumes significance as she is going to address the first gathering of the Trinamool Congress there.

“The purpose of the Chief Minister’s visit to the hills is to attend certain administrative and government programmes. She will also participate in a meeting of the Lepcha Development Council at Kalimpong,” Minister for North Bengal Development Gautam Deb said. Ms. Banerjee will be leaving for Darjeeling on October 22 and return to the city on October 26, Mr. Deb said.

  • From today, all the elected GJM Sabha members will attend the meeting of the GTA: Sharma

  • Mamata will be addressing the first gathering of the Trinamool Congress in Darjeeling