The Centre has ‘recently’ sent a ‘proposal’ to the state government, about the need to hold tripartite talks to look for a ‘permanent political solution’ for the Hills, as demanded by a majority of the political parties there, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista said today.

Asked to comment on a statement made by a GNLF leader on the possibility of holding such tripartite meeting within February, Mr Bista said: “The Union Home minister has sent a letter to the state for a tripartite meeting. I think the (GNLF) leader commented on the basis of that letter.”

Mr Bista was interacting with reporters here, where he also highlighted several issues, including chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s stand on the CAA and the NRC. The MP, however, did not clear the Centre’s stand on the Hills on “non-cooperation” of the state government, while he also pointed out that he was in no position to resolve the issues related to the main roads in Siliguri “owing to non-cooperation of the state government.”

“I am not speaking here as a party leader. Being an MP and having connections with the corporate world, I do my job and speak through results. Have faith in me, I am determined, I will do something better with a difference,” he added. Asked whether the Centre can do something directly on the Hill issue, and if such tripartite talks would be held within this financial year, Mr Bista significantly said: “I would say we would be coming up with a new manifesto in 2024.”

“As the common people have realised the main objective of the CAA and they are happy with the present Citizenship law, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been trying to confuse the people about it. Now, there is no need to campaign in favour of the CAA because people have come to know what is what. We must organise a rally in the Hills to counter Mamata Banerjee. But we have not yet decided whether we would organise the programme before or after her visit,” said Mr Bista.

The CM is scheduled to tour the Hills and join an anti-CAA rally in Darjeeling on 22 January. The MP also stressed on the need to hold panchayat elections for development of places through the gram panchayat and to bring back democracy. “I mentioned this earlier, and I will also raise the issue in the Parliament next time,” Mr Bista said.