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24 Jun 2017

All-party chapter reopened - Gurung makes U-turn, lays stress on joint movement for statehood

Gurung and another Morcha leader Binay Tamang (left) in Darjeeling on Friday.
KINSUK BASU AND VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling June 23: Bimal Gurung today made an about-turn, saying the Gorkhaland movement would continue with all hill parties in tow and a meeting of outfits fighting for the separate state would be held on June 29.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president had said yesterday that "the all-party chapter is now closed" and "all must come under one party and one flag" for the agitation.
Gurung backtracked from yesterday's statement after the GNLF (Gorkha National Liberation Front) president Mann Ghisingh had led a 1,000-strong procession at Chowk Bazar here around 11.30am today. Observers said the GNLF took to the street to cash in on a perception that hill people were in favour of a joint movement and didn't like Gurung's statement yesterday.
Gurung today batted for the joint agitation and said all GTA Sabha members of the Morcha had put in their papers.
"I appeal to all parties to join hands and take the movement further. The Morcha's 43 GTA Sabha members resigned today and all I wanted to say (yesterday) was that the chapter of the GTA was closed. Not that of all parties," Gurung said.
"Our one point agenda is Gorkhaland. I will send the resignations of the GTA Sabha members to the Bengal government tomorrow. We will be fighting together to uphold the demand of the Gorkhas, worldwide. An all-party session would be held on June 29 and I will even address a public rally later," he said.
The Morcha leader didn't specify the date for the public meeting.
"There shouldn't be any dhokabazi (deception) or attempt to sabotage the greater cause of the Gorkhas," Gurung said.
Yesterday, the Morcha had said it was deferring an all-party meeting scheduled for June 24 as the GTA members would be quitting on that day.
A video showing Gurung's remarks yesterday went viral in the hills.
"Gurung sensed that if he shut out other parties, his position will become untenable. He realised that he had to make immediate amends. That is why the Morcha chief stressed the need for a joint fight today," said a Morcha leader.
The GNLF had initially expressed shock at Gurung's decision to close "the all-party chapter". However, the GNLF today welcomed the Morcha's decision to hold an all-party meeting on June 29.
"We have no problem in accepting Gurung's leadership as long as the issue of Gorkhaland is not betrayed," said GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimba.
GNLF insiders said Mann had joined the march as Gurung had yesterday alleged that the party had forged an alliance with Trinamul for Rs 3 crore. The GNLF gave the impression that it did not want to go on a warpath with Gurung taking into consideration the swelling sentiments around the statehood issue.
"The movement is no longer restricted to political parties. It has taken the shape of a mass movement and any leader trying to derail it will have to face the consequences," Ghisingh, the son of the late Subash told The Telegraph this morning.
(Source & Courtesy: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170624/jsp/bengal/story_158500.jsp)

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