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Morcha’s no-contest ‘plea’ to MP

Darjeeling, March 30: Bimal Gurung, the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, today “requested” Dawa Narbula not to contest as a Congress candidate in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency.

Addressing a convention of party supporters, which is largely being seen as the beginning of the Morcha’s campaign for the coming general elections, at Gymkhana Hall, Gurung said: “Please understand our issue (of Gorkhaland). I will request you (Narbula) not to file nominations. We cannot tell you not to come to the hills. Nor do I want to say we will start a fight with you. I hope you will not file your nominations.”

Gurung had earlier accused Narbula, the sitting Darjeeling MP, of not uttering a single word in favour of Gorkhaland.

Later, while talking to journalists, Gurung, said “the Congress had sent feelers for a Union Territory status earlier too”. “I will not, however, budge an inch from our demand for Gorkhaland,” he said.

The Morcha leader also had a word of “advice” to the Tibetan and the Muslim communities of the hills. “Our Tibetan brothers have for long been voting blindly for the Congress, but all the hill people, including our Muslim brothers, should only think about Gorkhaland as this is their place too,” said Gurung adding that the party would keep an eye on every vote during the coming elections.

Narbula said he would not make any comments on Gurung’s “request”.

The Morcha, however, made it clear that options were still open and a final decision on supporting any candidate would be taken on April 1 after holding an all-party meeting here tomorrow. “We will also organise a meeting with all communities like the Muslims, Tibetans, Christians, Marwaris and Bengalis in the hills before taking a final decision,” he said.

Gurung said the BJP president, Rajnath Singh, had called him up when he was attending the meeting today. “Rajnath Singh called me up and said his party would work for Gorkhaland. I have told him to include our demand in the BJP’s manifesto if we were to support them.”

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