West Bengal minister flays Gurung

May 8th, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, May 8 (IANS) West Bengal minister Ashok Bhattacharya Thursday called Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung “incompetent” after the latter vowed to work for a Darjeeling state come what may. Urban Development, Municipal and Hill Affairs Minister Bhattacharya criticised the way Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Gurung attacked him and the West Bengal government.

“GJM is exploiting the emotions of the Gorkha community to achieve political power,” the minister told IANS. “As for Bimal Gurung, he is an incompetent leader and knows nothing.

“If he was really concerned about the welfare of the hill people, he would have tried to restore peace and harmony rather than provoking people,” Bhattacharya said.

Addressing a GJM meeting at the Indira Gandhi Maidan in Siliguri Wednesday, Gurung thundered: “We will throw out every hindrance that comes in our way to achieve a separate statehood for Darjeeling.

“Ashok Bhattacharya has said he will not let us include Siliguri within Gorkhaland. But the GJM will not let go Siliguri at any cost.

“If Bhattacharya turns nasty, we will throw him away as we earlier threw away Subhash Ghisingh from the post of Darjeeling hill council chairman,” Gurung said.

Addressing over 100,000 people, Gurung also demanded the arrest by Saturday of three Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists who allegedly assaulted GJM supporters during a hunger strike in Darjeeling.

“If the three - Jibitesh Sarkar, Mukul Sengupta and Shankar Ghosh - are not arrested by Saturday, GJM will call for an indefinite strike across the district,” Gurung said.

GJM supporters want statehood for Darjeeling in north Bengal instead of a Sixth Schedule status that grants greater autonomy for the region.

Gurung has been expelled from Subash Ghisingh’s Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) for “anti-party” activities.

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