Interlocutor calls it a day

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, March 4: Vijay Madan, the Centre’s interlocutor to hold talks on the Darjeeling impasse, today tendered his resignation, indicating that not much progress could be achieved on the issue.

“With the Assembly elections round the corner, there is no possibility of some dramatic announcement. I have tendered my resignation as I did not want to hang around uselessly,” Madan told The Telegraph over the phone from Delhi.

Observers believe this is an indication from Madan that a new government in the state could think of a different arrangement which could nullify the entire negotiations that Madan had been working hard to get through. He had been appointed by the Union home ministry to co-ordinate the talks between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the Centre and the state.

The fact that no concrete settlement could be reached on the impasse shows that the interlocutor could not influence the negotiations much.

Sources said Madan had been pressing hard for an early settlement on the interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills before the model code of conduct came into force in Bengal on March 1. Madan had also called Morcha president Bimal Gurung, hours before the Assembly polls were announced on March 1, to impress on him the need to sign an agreement, claimed a source.

“Gurung was, however, adamant that unless the formation of a joint verification committee featured in the settlement, he would not agree to ink the deal. This, perhaps disappointed the interlocutor,” said the source.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Morcha, said a text message had been sent to the party by Madan informing them about the resignation. “It (resignation) is his personal choice and we cannot comment on that,” said Chhetri.

It is, however, not clear whether the Union home ministry has accepted Madan’s resignation.

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