A day after the signing of the tripartite agreement on Darjeeling, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Tuesday said its original demand for Gorkhaland still stands.
"The original demand for Gorkhaland remains. We have never said that we have withdrawn our demand for Gorkhaland," said Gurung at a press conference in Darjeeling.
When told that Chief Minister Minister Mamata Banerjee had categorically said that there would be no division of West Bengal, he said, "That is absolutely her personal and political opinion."
He, however, added "at the same time we will work for the development of Darjeeling." On Banerjee's announcement that elections will be held within six months to the new council, Gorkhaland Territorial Authority, Gurung asserted this could only be held after GJM's demand for inclusion of 196 mouzas in the Terai and Dooars in the plains was conceded.
Meanwhile in Siliguri, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former minister Ashok Bhattacharjee alleged that the GTA has sowed the seeds for long-term discord. He said his party had always been against the GJM's demand for inclusion of areas in the Terai and the Dooars in the jurisdiction of the hill council.
He also questioned how the state government would find land for a 1,000-acre proposed Special Economic Zone in north Bengal. "The Trinamool Congress came to power on the plank of anti-land acquisition and I wonder how it will acquire the land for the special economic zone," he said.