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26 Jun 2017

Gurung hint on meeting

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 25: Gorkha Janmukti chief Bimal Gurung today said he "might attend" a meeting of all hill-based parties on June 29, indicating that he was not willing to let go off the reins of the statehood agitation.
"I might attend the all-party meeting on June 29. We are finalising the venue," Gurung told The Telegraph at the Morcha office in Patlebas today.
Gurung had skipped both the meetings of hill parties and apolitical organisations convened on June 13 and 20.
Sources said the June 29 meeting might be held somewhere near Patlebas, the nerve centre of the Morcha. The venue of the earlier two meetings had been Darjeeling Gymkhana Club, at the centre of the town.
The last meeting had been attended by 14 political and apolitical organisations that had taken a decision to form a pan-India committee to spearhead the statehood agitation. Sources said the committee was likely to be constituted at the June 29 meeting.
"The course of the agitation is likely to be charted out during the June 29 session. It seems Gurung wants to be present at the meeting to ensure no decision taken there is contrary to how he has been planning to give shape to the movement. Gurung would like to be in the know of all decisions," an observer said.
The Morcha chief clarified that he wasn't willing to go slow on the agitation.
"The agitation is at such a point that there cannot be parleys on any issue other than Gorkhaland. There can be talks only on the single agenda of statehood, whether with the Bengal government or the Centre. All political parties must be united on this," Gurung said.
Gurung had on Thursday deferred an all-party meeting scheduled for June 24, saying the "all party-chapter is now closed".
The Morcha chief did a U-turn the next day and announced the date of the meeting, June 29. He had said he had been misinterpreted by the media and had only meant that the all-party meeting with regard to GTA was closed.
Gurung's comments had come against perceptions that people in the hills were in favour of a joint movement for Gorkhaland and the Morcha chief's earlier remarks had saddened them.
The rethink on involving all hill-based parties had come hours after GNLF chief Mann Ghisingh had led a procession in Chowk Bazaar for the first time after taking over as the president of the party about two years ago. Ghisingh had stressed that the present movement was of the people and not confined to any single party.

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