Binay Tamang at Jamuni on Monday. (Suman Tamang)
Darjeeling, Jan. 28: Bimal Gurung will meet the chief minister here tomorrow and he has asked the people of all the constituencies of the GTA Sabha to welcome Mamata Banerjee, ending all speculations of giving her a miss during her hill trip.
Mamata reached Darjeeling this evening to inaugurate the hill leg of the Uttarbanga Utsav tomorrow. Gurung said he would be present at the inaugural ceremony.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that had earlier said Gurung would leave for New Delhi “any day” after January 27 did a last minute flip-flop after an “emergency” meeting at Jamuni, 14km from here.
The meeting was attended by GTA Sabha members, chairman and vice-chairmen of al hill municipalities and the representatives of the Morcha’s subdivisional committee.
“Today, we received the invitation for the chief minister’s programme. Our president Bimal Gurung has decided to attend the event as the chief minister is our guest. After the programme, he will lead a delegation that will meet the chief minister,” Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, told journalists after the meeting.
Earlier Tamang had said senior Morcha leaders, including Gurung, might not meet Mamata in Darjeeling as they would go to Delhi to take part in a dharna at Jantar Mantar demanding Gorkhaland.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri, the three hill MLAs and seven GTA Sabha members left for Delhi on Sunday.
Even till yesterday evening, there were talks of only the Darjeeling municipality chairman and the vice-chairmen of the four hill municipalities attending the programme at Chowrastha.
Tamang today announced that only Nari Morcha leader Asha Gurung would leave for Delhi tomorrow.
“Along with her, other leaders of the Nari Morcha and the Yuva Morcha would also go,” he said.
Asked about the delay in Gurung’s departure, Tamang said: “We are monitoring the situation in Delhi. Taking into account the present situation, our president has decided to visit Delhi only after a few days. This is the reason that Morcha representatives would be present at the chief minister’s event here.”
The Morcha leadership did not disclose the agenda of the meeting with the CM. “It will be more of a courtesy call,” Tamang said.
Observers said with the Centre keeping on hold the decision on Telangana, the Morcha probably believes that there is no harm in meeting the CM during her trip.
“Had the Centre given some positive response on the formation of Telangana, the Morcha might have been uncomfortable in attending the programme here as Mamata has always been vocal against carving out Gorkhaland. At the moment, both the chief minister and the Morcha will probably restrain themselves from making any comments that might strain their relationship,” said an observer.
Asked if the Morcha representatives would stage a walk-out at the programme if the chief minister made an anti-statehood comment like she had made earlier, Tamang said: “No comments.”