Ghising leaves Kolkata, Gurung to meet Bhattacharjee

February 27th, 2008 - 11:24 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) Beleaguered Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader Subhas Ghisingh, who could not enter West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills due to a blockade by rivals, Wednesday left here for Santiniketan for a few days. Bimal Gurung, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader who has challenged Ghising’s hegemony in the hills and crippled life for days over a renewed statehood agitation, instead reached Kolkata in the evening to talk to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Official sources confirmed that Ghising had left for a circuit house at Santiniketan, about 225 km from here in Birbhum district. Ghising was in Kolkata and spoke to Bhattacharjee after failing to enter the hills.

Earlier in the day, a clash broke out between GNLF and GJM supporters at Mirik in Darjeeling district, about 750 km from Kolkata. Police said two policemen were injured.

The GJM strike has crippled life in the three sub-divisions of Darjeeling district since Feb 20. The group is demanding statehood for the region and sacking of Ghising as the caretaker administrator of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

The protests were relaxed Wednesday after the meeting between Gurung and Bhattacharya was fixed in the evening.

GJM is opposed to Constitution’s Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling - which envisages greater autonomy - and instead demands a separate state.

Ghising earlier said: “I didn’t go to Darjeeling to avoid trouble. I can go any time.”

The GNLF leader was forced to seek the chief minister’s intervention after hundreds of GJM supporters confined him to Pintail village, a resort three kilometres from Siliguri, for five days since his return from New Delhi Feb 18.

Ghisingh described his meeting with Bhattacharjee Saturday as “positive”.

Asked about the opposition faced by his party in the hills, he said: “GNLF isn’t finished yet. We still have the required strength. On any given day, we can fill up the whole of Kolkata with our supporters.”

Asked about the demands for his resignation, he said: “The post of administrator will be dissolved once an interim council is in place.”

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) patriarch Jyoti Basu Friday said the GNLF chief had lost the confidence of his own party. Basu said Ghisingh had become “weak with his own party men going against him”.

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