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29 Jun 2017

Gurung to skip hill parties' meet

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 28: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said Bimal Gurung would not attend the meeting with all hill-based parties in Kalimpong tomorrow.
A core-committee of senior Morcha leaders today met in Patlebas in Darjeeling and decided that the party chief would give tomorrow's session the skip because of the "prevailing situation" in the hills. The meeting has been called to decide the course of the statehood agitation.
Gurung had earlier told The Telegraph that he "might" attend the meeting.
The Morcha has also shifted the venue of tomorrow's meeting to a hotel in Kalimpong, about 50km from Darjeeling. At the earlier two meetings at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club, hundreds of local residents had flocked to the venue and it had become difficult to control the crowd.
Sources had earlier said the party might hold tomorrow's meeting somewhere near Singamari-Patlebas, the nerve centre of the Morcha, if Gurung attended it.
Tilak Chand Roka, the coordinator for tomorrow's meeting, said: "It has been now decided that the meeting will be held at Hotel Tress in Kalimpong from 1pm."
Morcha leaders said the large number of people flocking to the meeting venue was creating a hurdle in the way of a smooth exercise. Common people are turning out in large numbers on the streets and political observers believe the Morcha is under tremendous pressure to convince the residents that the agitation would not fizzle out like in 2013.
Today, members of a local club brought out a rally for Gorkhaland attended by children. A similar procession was taken out by Morcha supporters.
Morcha leader Binay Tamang said: "Gorkhaland is beyond politics. Though I am not aware of the rallies, what can we say if parents themselves bring their children dressed in traditional attire?"

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