Mamata hopeful about meeting with GJM

Darjeeling, Oct 22 (IANS) Ahead of a meeting with the pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Oct 25, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said she was hopeful of a positive outcome.

"They (GJM) have sought a meeting on Oct 25 and I am hopeful of a positive outcome," Banerjee, on a five day visit to north Bengal, told media persons here.

Spearheading a separatist movement in the Darjeeling hills, the GJM, in a conciliatory move, had sought to meet Banerjee.

The relation between the Banerjee regime and the GJM had nose-dived after the Gorkha outfit intensified its agitation demanding a separate Gorkhaland in the wake of the central government endorsing Telangana.

Even as the Bimal Gurung-led GJM ruled out any dialogue with the state government, the Banerjee regime maintained a tough stand on the issue and crackdown on the movement arresting over 1,000 GJM leaders and activists.

The GJM later suspended its agitation following an assurance by union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde of convening tripartite talks over the Gorkhaland issue.

Gurung had claimed the tripartite talks would be held Oct 23, however the Gorkha outfit is yet to get a confirmation about the meeting.

Continuing its climbdown, GJM legislator Harka Bahadur Chettri met Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy Saturday.

Apart from that, the party also approached state assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee informing that its three legislators would now sit with the treasury and not with the opposition.

Gurung had earlier told the speaker that the party members would not sit with ruling party legislators.

Meanwhile, in another placatory gesture, the GJM Monday resumed work at the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) - the autonomous hill council, which remained non-functional almost for three months in the wake of the separatist agitation.

The GJM though maintains that the GTA was not autonomous and would be "repealed at an appropriate time".

After remaining headless since Gurung resigned as the chief executive July 30, the GTA got its new chief Sep 27 with GJM leader Benoy Tamang elected to the post.

Being behind bars, Tamang is yet to take over the reign and the affairs of the GTA are now being carried out by deputy chief Ramesh Allay.

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