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Morcha talks with Advani

Gurung (top); Advani

May 24: L.K. Advani is learnt to have told the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha during a meeting in Delhi today that it would have to wait for a favourable government in Bengal for its statehood wish to be granted.

After the meeting, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung wrote in a Facebook post: “Shri LK Advani said he was well versed with the issue of Gorkhaland and told the delegation that the GJM must continue its fight on behalf of the people of Darjeeling and justice would finally prevail. He agreed that Darjeeling was never a part of Bengal.”

Two sources close to Advani said they did not know what happened at the meeting as they were not there.

Another source said Advani told the Morcha team that someday, when Bengal would have a “favourable administration”, he was sure the hill party’s demands would be met.

State minister and Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee today said the state government was opposed to the division of Bengal.

“Gurung must understand that the chief minister has given priority to the development of the hills, but we remain opposed to division of the state,” he said.

Gurung is expected to attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in on Monday. He met Advani along with Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, Jyoti Kumar Rai and Swaraj Thapa at the BJP leader’s home around 11am.

The BJP manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections had said the party would “sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long-pending demands of the Gorkhas”. The BJP manifesto for the 2009 general election too had taken a similar stand.

During a rally in Siliguri on April 10, Modi had made measured comments on the statehood issue, saying: “The dreams of the Gorkhas are my dream too.”

The Morcha had supported the BJP candidates for the Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar Lok Sabha seats. The BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia won the Darjeeling seat.

Gurung and the other Morcha leaders have been in Delhi since the BJP called the party to a meeting at Parliament’s Central Hall on May 20.