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Thaw in GJM, Mamata ties

Staff Reporter
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“Whenever any confusion or misunderstanding arises in future we will try to resolve it at the discussion table,” says GJM MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee and GJM leaders at Richmond hill in Darjeeling.— Photo: PTI
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee and GJM leaders at Richmond hill in Darjeeling.— Photo: PTI

After months of troubled ties, the West Bengal Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Friday arrived at an understanding that there will be no shutdowns in the Darjeeling hills and that differences in the functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will be resolved through discussions.

 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — flanked by some senior GJM leaders, including the party’s general secretary Roshan Giri — told journalists after an hour-long meeting in Darjeeling that the GJM can “quarrel with her as much they like,” but should not call any strike in the hills, inconveniencing common people.

“At this moment, bandh [strike] has been bandh [stopped],” senior GJM leader and MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri said, adding that the talks were held in a “very cordial” atmosphere and the GJM was “very happy” with the outcome.

Ms. Banerjee announced that another bilateral meeting would be held in Kolkata in November, when the session of the West Bengal Government resumes. “It will be followed by a tri-partite meeting with the Centre,” she said.

“The main issue discussed was about the functioning of the GTA. Whenever any confusion or misunderstanding arises in the future, we will try to resolve it at the discussion table,” Dr. Chettri said.

Before the meeting he had said that that there had been some “misunderstandings” with the State government that the GJM wants to resolve as it needs its support for running the GTA.

Asked about the fate of the pro-Gorkhaland agitation, he said that if the GJM was able to administer the GTA properly it would became a “stepping stone” for the party’s other demands.

The meeting, supposed to be an official meeting between Ms. Banerjee and three GJM MLAs and some Sabha members of the GTA, turned out to be of political significance, ending the uncertainty, at least for the time being, in the hills since the Centre announced its move to create Telangana.

Though the GJM had decided to postpone its agitation in September following an assurance of talks by the Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, it decided to resume the functioning of the GTA only earlier this week.

Over the past two days, Ms. Banerjee has been giving ample hints that she is ready to go come to an understanding with the GJM, something that seemed to have been achieved at the day’s meeting.


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