Calcutta, Oct. 19: Three Gorkha Janmukti Morcha MLAs today came to Calcutta to meet Trinamul leader Mukul Roy, apparently to seek an audience with Mamata Banerjee when she visits the Darjeeling hills on October 24.
Political observers said the Morcha’s “eagerness” to meet the chief minister was an indication that it was keen on forging a working relationship with the state government at a time the party was in a bind over its statehood agitation.
Yesterday, the MLAs had said that as part of “protocol”, they would seek an appointment with the chief minister during her visit to the hills.
The bonhomie between the state government and the Morcha had taken a blow after the party renewed its demand for a separate state and called indefinite strikes in the hills in July-August.
“After the state government’s firm administrative action in the hills, the Morcha leadership is on the back foot,” a state government source said.
Although the Morcha wants the Centre to call tripartite talks, Delhi is yet to make any formal announcement, which has compounded the party’s problems.
Whether the MLAs — Rohit Sharma, Trilok Dewan and Harka Bahadur Chhetri — were assured of a meeting with Mamata could not be confirmed as neither Trinamul all-India general secretary Roy nor the trio were available for comment.
Trinamul sources said the Morcha’s readiness to talk to the Trinamul leadership showed that Mamata’s tough stance on the hill agitation had worked. The Morcha had earlier refused to communicate with the state government.
“The chief minister has made it clear that she will not tolerate disruption of peace in the hills. She is delivering on her promise of development. Morcha leaders, too, have realised that she is going to stick to her stand,” a Trinamul source said.
Sources said the uncertainty over arrested Morcha leader Binay Tamang taking charge as the chief executive officer of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was another reason why the three MLA came to Calcutta.
Tamang, who was elected on September 27, has to take charge by October 27 as the GTA chief has to assume office within a month of election.
The Morcha was tight-lipped about the purpose of today’s meeting with Roy. “The meeting was held to discuss the functioning of the GTA. It was very positive,” a Morcha leader said.
According to sources, the political situation in the hills also came up for discussion at the meeting.
The Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat is crucial to Mamata’s plans of bagging the maximum number of seats from Bengal in the general elections next year. The Trinamul sources said Mamata had asked the Darjeeling unit of the party to organise a membership drive to induct hill residents who were “unhappy with the Morcha’s strong-arm tactics”.
During her five-day trip next week, Mamata will chair government and party programmes. On October 24, she will address the first-ever Darjeeling conference of Trinamul. The chief minister will meet Lepcha development board members the previous day.