Bimal Gurung says no fight with mamata, suspends Sanjay Thulung

Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling
Bimal Gurung today tried to justify his December 1 meeting with Mamata Banerjee in Nabanna, saying the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had "nothing to fight about" with the chief minister as "whatever needs to be obtained now has to be from the Centre".

At the public meeting in the Darjeeling Motor Stand, the Morcha chief also announced the suspension of Sanjay Thulung, a Yuva Morcha leader and GTA member whose home was raided by police in connection with an arms haul case. Thulung is untraceable.

About the meeting in Nabanna, Gurung today said: "Since I was in Calcutta, I thought it would be against protocol not to meet her. I made a courtesy visit to her. I will continue to maintain good relations with her (Mamata)."

In Nabanna, a senior official had said on December 1: "During a meeting between the chief minister and Gurung, the Morcha chief was informed that the state government would take initiatives to ensure regular flow of funds to the hills. But the expenditure would be audited by the CAG."

In the hills, Morcha leaders had been curious about why Gurung felt the necessity to meet Mamata when he had gone to Kalighat to do some puja. A section in the party today said that Gurung spoke about the meeting and the Centre's role to explain the Morcha's Delhi-centric movement. In the absence of any statehood call in the hills, a visit to Mamata may arouse misgivings among the Morcha's constituency.

The suggestion of the audit, reportedly made by Mamata on December 1, was nothing new - north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb spoken about a GTA audit in April this year - and Gurung had made his disappointment clear earlier.

After Mamata reportedly broached the audit on December 1, a Morcha leader said: "There was a talk about an audit but not a CAG audit. We do not have a problem on an audit of the GTA accounts. We, in fact, should welcome it." A GTA source said the hill body had done an internal audit recently.

Explaining the suspension of Thulung, who is the vice-president of the Yuva Morcha, the GTA chief said: "We are getting to read in media reports that Sanjaybhai is involved in some activities. The party has decided to suspend him till police complete investigation."

Perhaps mindful that Thulung is wanted in an arms haul case, he also added that the Morcha believed only in democratic agitation.

A Morcha leader, who did not want to be named, said a section in the party did not want any association of the statehood movement with "violence".

Gurung today contended that Mamata had endorsed the word "Gorkhaland" by agreeing that the autonomous hill body should be called the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

"She has already cut her hand and given it to us. I have no fight with her. The word Gorkhaland has been endorsed by Bengal and even by the President of India (as GTA bill was given the assent by the President). This is all we wanted from Bengal and we have got it. Whatever needs to be obtained now has to be from the Centre," Gurung said.

Soon after coming to power in Bengal, Mamata had agreed on the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and accordingly a memorandum of agreement was signed between the Centre, state and the Morcha on July 18, 2011.

She, however, remains opposed to the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state, which is the Morcha's main demand.

Gurung today said the Morcha would welcome the chief minister in a grand manner when she visits Darjeeling in January-February.

"I will also meet her then. We will also participate in her festival," he said, perhaps alluding the Darjeeling leg of the Uttar Banga Utsav. However, there is no official word about the days when Mamata will be in the hills.

Gurung said: "We will no longer fight with the Bengal government. I no longer need to speak against her (Mamata). We have no reason to fight with them. There will be no agitation in Darjeeling."

It was during the Darjeeling leg of the Utsav in 2012 that relations between Mamata and the Morcha took a nosedive when hill residents showed the chief minister banners that read: "We want Gorkhaland," to which she reacted saying Darjeeling is "a part of us".

Gurung today said the dialogue with the Centre was on the right track.

"We are having a good dialogue with the Centre now. We are a partner in the NDA and we do not want to do anything that will embarrass the NDA. This is why we have postponed our dharna (scheduled from December 18 to 20 in Delhi). Once the winter session ends, we will continue to organise dharnas in Delhi," Gurung said. "I will also invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the Darjeeling hills."

The Morcha had earlier claimed that Union home minister Rajnath Singh had agreed to constitute a committee to examine the demand of Gorkhaland after the winter session ends. The Union home ministry, though, has not said anything officially about it.

The Morcha today announced a plan for relay dharnas in Delhi from February-end. "This dharna will be a continuous one involving 31 participants. One group will stage a dharna before another set of 31 participants replaces them. This will go on for a long time," said Gurung, who also went to say that he, too, would mostly stay in Delhi in the coming days.

Source: The Telegraph

Bimal Gurung says no fight with mamata, suspends Sanjay Thulung - Yuva Morcha leader and GTA member whose home was raided by police in connection with an arms haul case. Thulung is untraceable.

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