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Ready for dialogue with Mamata: Bimal Gurung

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

leader today expressed his willingness to hold dialogue with Chief Minister to defuse the crisis in and asserted that his fight was for Gorkha identity.

In his first direct interaction with reporters following a long and violent agitation in last year, Gurung also rejected Banerjee's accusation that he was a separatist, saying his party's demands were within the purview of Indian Constitution and he believed in national integrity.

He claimed that the had implicated him and his party's workers in false criminal cases and sought an independent enquiry into the matter.

His party leaders said Gurung was booked in over 350 cases and had been on a run before the Supreme asked the police to not take any coercive measure against him after he filed a plea there.

Asked if he was willing to hold dialogue with Banerjee, he answered in affirmative.

"I'm ready for dialogue. Dialogue is the way ahead," he said.

Though his party has been demanding a separate state of to be carved out of West Bengal, he did not touch upon the issue in his today's comments.

"Our agitation is for Gorkha identity," he said.

He said he had nothing against the people of Bengal but the language and culture of Gorkhas were distinct from them and whatever they were demanding was within the ambit of the Constitution.

Gurung accused the of acting in an "one-sided" manner following the start of an agitation in in June last year.

Eleven Gorkhas died in police and other violent action, he said.

Gurung also appealed for peace and asked his supporters to stay away from any illegal activity.

In his absence, a group of other Gorkha leaders led by had claimed to be the real representatives of people. Banerjee appointed Tamang as the of Territorial Administration (GTA) after Gurung, who was its chief, and his associates resigned.

People close to Gurung have claimed that the Trinamool Congress had propped up Tamang but the remained the "real leader" of Gorkhas.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 11 2018. 14:16 IST