Calcutta, Sept. 12: Cracks appeared in the ABGL with the president and the vice-president of the party attending the meeting with Mamata Banerjee in Siliguri today though there was a purported decision to stay away from the talks.
Pratap Khati, the general secretary of the ABGL, one of the oldest parties in the hills, had said yesterday that its central committee had decided against attending the talks with the chief minister as the organisation had not received a formal invitation and the statehood demand was out of the state government's agenda.
However, ABGL president Bharati Tamang, vice-president Laxman Pradhan and two other leaders attended the meeting at Uttarkanya in Siliguri today.
A livid Khari squarely blamed Pradhan for the entire fiasco. "I also learnt this morning that an ABGL delegation would be going to the meeting. The entire fiasco was engineered by Pradhan as he wants to be close with the state probably for some vested interests," said Khati.
According to Khati, senior police officers had visited Bharati with a request to attend the meeting. "Pradhan seems to have persuaded the party president and other leaders to attend the meeting," he alleged.
The ABGL general secretary has threatened to take action against the leaders who attended the meeting for "anti-party activities".
"Pradhan and even Bharati Tamang were present at yesterday's central committee meeting where it was decided that the party wouldn't attend the talks with the chief minister," Khati said.
Pradhan admitted that he was present at the meeting where such a decision was taken. "The meeting wasn't, however, conducted properly. Everyone's views were not taken on board and the decision was virtually thrust on all," said Pradhan.
The ABGL vice-president said leaders had to be "mature" in politics.
"We attended the meeting and raised the Gorkhaland issue. As politician, one has to be mature. One cannot lock up in a room and refuse to hear what the other side has to say," said Pradhan.
Asked if there was a rift in the ABGL, Pradhan said: "Things will be more clear in the days to come."