The Telegraph
Monday , January 28 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Morcha leaders invited, says Deb

Siliguri, Jan. 27: Gautam Deb today said he did not want to comment on any other party’s political programme when told that most Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders would be in Delhi when the chief minister visits Darjeeling on January 29.

“The Utsav will be held for the first time at Darjeeling Mall from 1pm on Tuesday in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. We have invited Morcha leaders and GTA members to the event,” Deb said, while giving an outline of Mamata Banerjee’s trip.

When told that some of the Morcha senior leaders had already left the hills to take part in a protest in Delhi, Deb said: “I hope everybody will participate in the festival and it will be a success. I don’t want to comment on the political programme of any other political party.”

Mamata will be in Darjeeling on Tuesday to open the hill segment of the Uttarbanga Utsav.

The Morcha had earlier said that its senior leaders would not be present at the event in the wake of the party’s renewed agitation for a separate state. All three Morcha MLAs and party general secretary Roshan Giri are in New Delhi now to take part in a dharna to press for the creation of Gorkhaland. Sources in Darjeeling said Morcha president Bimal Gurung may leave for Delhi tomorrow to take part in the dharna that would continue till February 5.

Although the Morcha didn’t clarify if its leaders would share the dais with the chief minister in Darjeeling on January 29, observers believe they would like to avoid a meeting with Mamata when the agitation for Gorkhaland was going on. The week-long festival will be inaugurated at Kanchenjungha stadium at 4pm tomorrow. Anjan Dutt and Jojo will perform at the Darjeeling event.