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17 Jan 2018

CPM speaks for Gurung

TT, Siliguri: Darjeeling CPM leaders on Tuesday backed Bimal Gurung, demanded tripartite talks to resolve the issues of Darjeeling hills and his inclusion in such parleys.

They also sought the release of all Morcha leaders and supporters arrested during the statehood agitation last year.

"The chief minister, who is regularly meeting some parties, should invite all other political parties like us, the Congress and the BJP. Simultaneously, the Centre should initiate tripartite talks under the GTA accord and must include Bimal Gurung and others in it," said Asok Bhattacharya, CPM state secretariat member and Siliguri MLA.

Bhattacharya and his party colleague Jibesh Sarkar, the district CPM secretary, were speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, a day after the district conference of the party concluded.

"It is interesting to see the CPM leaders speak in favour of Bimal Gurung and the Morcha supporters. The CPM is hardly a force in hills and is known for its stance against statehood.

When Trinamul, which is in power in the state, runs a civic board and enjoys some support in hills, is silent and abstaining from political activities, it is unlikely that the CPM can regain its base by extending support to Gurung," said an observer.

It seems the party leaders here are simply trying to mount pressure on Trinamul by raising the demands released. "At this point of time, it seems to be an effort to gain relevance in the political arena of the hills," the observer added.

Bhattacharya and the other CPM leaders supported the Joint Forum, a common platform of 24 tea unions except those backed by Trinamul, on its demand for minimum wages for garden workers. The forum has announced a march to Uttarkanya on January 24.

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