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GJM ready to resume talks with government

Marcus Dam

KOLKATA: On the eve of its president Bimal Gurung's meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) on Sunday expressed its willingness to resume talks with the government to end the political impasse in the Darjeeling hills, even as questions are being raised whether it is soft-pedalling its statehood demand, at least for now.

“Only through talks can the crisis be resolved, and we are open to discussions with the State government,” sources in the GJM told The Hindu, indicating that it was looking at a shift from the agitation mode which defined its agenda, especially since its virtual rejection of any interim administrative body for the region which excludes from its jurisdiction the Gorkha-dominated areas in the Dooars.

Monday's meeting between Ms. Banerjee and Mr. Gurung could well determine not just the future of the GJM's relations with the new government, to which it has extended its total support, but also that of the course of political developments in the Darjeeling hills.

Well aware of Ms. Banerjee having made public her opposition to its ultimate demand for a separate State to be carved out of the Darjeeling hills and some areas contiguous to it, the GJM could well be looking at a feasible alternative — at least for some time — rather than adopting a hard, time-bound line.

Having asserted its supremacy in the hills through its resounding success in the recent Assembly elections, bagging all three seats in the region, and with the departure from there of arch rival Subash Ghising, the GJM leadership has reasons to believe that without imperilling its political credibility, it is now in a position to look for fresh options in dealings with the new government.

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