Bimal refuses to budge

The Telegraph

Kumani, Feb. 27: Bimal Gurung today said he was not going back to the hills from his camp in Kumani, an indication that Delhi has not been able to resolve the Darjeeling impasse, the brunt of which was borne even by Jaswant Singh.

“I will not leave this place until a decision on the inclusion of the Dooars and Terai is taken. The camp will, however, be shifted from the forest land to a private place (a kilometre away),” said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president.

Gurung made it clear that the party was dogged on the territory issue.

“I got a call from Delhi today. They were talking about some declaration so that the territory issue be taken up after the Assembly elections. I have said no to such a declaration,” he said.

The Morcha has demanded that a joint verification committee be formed to look into the demands for the inclusion of the Gorkha-dominated areas of the Dooars and the Terai before any administrative arrangement is worked out, a proposal unacceptable to the state government.

The party’s hardened stand could be gauged from the fact that Gurung did not even spare Darjeeling MP Singh in his criticism. “We have told our Darjeeling MP that we cannot compromise on our stand. He said he might have to vacate the Darjeeling seat. If this is the case, we can do nothing. It is also his job (to make the government agree to a JVC).”

A senior leader who was present when Gurung talked to Singh over the phone this morning denied there was any strain in the relation. “Jaswant Singh has repeatedly said he was committed to our cause and if he could not fulfil our wishes, he would resign. In fact, this is a habitual utterance of Singh…We are in fact, thankful to him. Nothing much should be read into our president’s statement.”

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www.kalimpong.info

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