Mamata Banerjee makes GJM eschew shutdowns in Darjeeling
Darjeeling: With the Gorkhland movement mothballed following strong administrative steps in Darjeeling, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday scored yet another success in making GJM eschew politics of bandhs which shut down the hills for three months.
"I told them not to organise bandh and strikes. There are also Supreme Court and High Court verdicts," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said after a meeting of the hill council, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
"Quarrel with us as much as you want, but not bandhs and strikes which hit the people and the economy," the chief minister, who was flanked by top GJM leaders said after the one-hour meeting.
GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri, three GJM legislators, Harka Bahadur Chetri, Trilok Dewan and Rohit Sharma were part of the seven-member GJM team led by Ramesh Allay, deputy chief of the GTA, at the meeting.
"The meeting went on well. They were happy and hopeful and said that they wanted to work together. As I have said yesterday, I told them it is our state and motherland, so we must work together for development and peace," Banerjee, who has ruled out any division of the state, said.
The Chief Minister said that both sides would hold bilateral talks in Kolkata in November during the Assembly session where the GJM MLAs would be present. This would be followed by a tripartite meeting.
"Regarding GTA they have already started functioning. They will continue to do so. They will have to elect members to the body as the one-month period for doing so is going to lapse tomorrow as per the tripartite agreement," she said.
"Our relations are very good and we will continue to develop the relations for peace and development. My heart is with Darjeeling and will remain so," the chief minister said.
Expressing satisfaction over the talks, party leader Harkhabadar Chetri told reporters that bandhs would not be organised in future.
"At this moment there will be a bandh to the bandhs," he said drawing a smile from the chief minister.
"Madam thinks that even one day of bandh can cut down the income of the state quite remarkably. That should not happen," he said.
"After a short period of some miscommunication, it appeared that our relations were strained, but it was not so," Chetri, a GJM central committee member, said.
"Madam Mamata Banerjee has tremendous capacity to simplify things and make it so simple and acceptable to everyone that it appears as if there was no miscommunication."
He said, "She had more programmes for development in Darjeeling than we had expected from our side."
Changing its earlier stand of refusing to talk to the state government, saying that the party would only hold parleys with the Centre, Chetri said "Bipartite is more important than tripartite.
"Because issues are to be resolved there, and what remains outstanding, that needs to be taken up with the Government of India," he said.
He said that the chief minister stated that she would send all her party MPs and MLAs to Delhi "so that we can go together to take up with the Union government our demand."
Banerjee intervened to say as per the tripartite agreement which resulted in the formation of GTA, the Centre was committed to give funds. "For that matter our TMC MPs will go."
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