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Rally off for landslides

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 21, 2009

Darjeeling, Aug. 20(The Telegraph): The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today cancelled its much-hyped public meeting scheduled here in the afternoon because of the fresh bout of landslides that struck the hills.

The party top brass, however, continues to be tight-lipped on the expulsion of Jaswant Singh, who was elected MP from Darjeeling with Morcha support, from the BJP.

“There has been much damage in Mirik, Balasun, Bagrakote and also in Kalimpong. Our central committee members have reached the areas with relief material like rice, dal and edible oil. I have mobilised around 700 Gorkhaland Personnel to carry out rescue work. I spoke to the district authorities at 11pm yesterday and at 7.30 this morning. We decided to call off the meeting,” said Bimal Gurung, the Morcha president, at a media conference at his office in Singamari.

The Morcha chief was supposed to announce the future course of the Gorkhaland agitation at the meeting and he had asked people from across the hills to reach Darjeeling to hear him. A dais had also been erected at Darjeeling Motor Stand. “What is the use of going ahead with the meeting and announcing the agitation when people are suffering everywhere. The meeting will be held soon,” he said.

Senior leaders like Roshan Giri, Diwarkar Thapa and Binay Tamang were asked to visit the landslide-affected places. Gurung visited Bagrakote near Gorubathan to oversee relief operation.

At the media conference, Gurung refused to take any questions on Singh. “I will speak (about it) in the public meeting. I don’t think we can hold a central committee meeting for at least two days because most of the leaders are visiting various landslide- affected areas,” he said.

Amar Lama, a central committee member, iterated the party’s middle path policy. “It (the expulsion) is an internal matter of the BJP and we have no right to comment on it. Our tie-up is with the BJP and Singh has also maintained that he is willing to serve the Darjeeling people. That is our wish too,” he said.

Sources said Singh was expected to reach Darjeeling “very soon”.


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