Bimal Gurung’s faction GJM targets ex-ally BJP in first hill rally in Bengal
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) faction headed by Bimal Gurung on Sunday held its first rally in the Darjeeling region after three and a half years and targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Gurung’s former ally.
Faction’s general secretary Roshan Giri, and other speakers, tried to explain at the well-attended rally why they severed ties with the BJP and joined hands with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) against which it had carried out a movement till 2017.
Though wanted by the state in connection with several criminal cases and charged under anti-terror law, Gurung surfaced in Kolkata on October 21 and offered an olive branch to Mamata Banerjee. He plans to address a rally in Siliguri on December 6.
Giri said the BJP governments had assured the Gorkhas before three successive Lok Sabha polls that political crisis in the hills would be solved but nothing was done. “Actually they don’t have the political will to find a permanent political solution. Why does the Centre make tripartite talks a prerequisite when it comes to the Gorkhas? The creation of Telangana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand did not require tripartite talks,” Giri said. The Gorkhas lost 15 years because of the BJP, he added.
The BJP has been winning the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat since 2009 with support from the GJM. The BJP promised to find a permanent political solution to the Gorkhaland issue and accord scheduled tribe status to 11 Gorkha sub-communities.
Giri said the hill people have to understand the circumstances under which the GJM joined hands with the TMC.
The state government suppressed the Gorkhaland movement in 2017 after Binoy Tamang and Anit Thapa, the two senior leaders of the party, became allies of the TMC. They floated another faction of the party while Gurung, the founder president, and his aides went into hiding to evade arrest.
Thousands of Gurung’s supporters, who had been maintaining a low profile all these years, hit the streets on Sunday. Giri and the other speakers alleged that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) run by the GJM’s Binoy Tamang faction is involved in corruption.
GJM leaders Dipen Maley and Yogendra Rai claimed that there have been rampant corruption in the appointment of primary school teachers and 70 per cent of the fund allocated for development have been siphoned. Giri demanded a special audit.
Anit Thapa, general secretary of the GJM’s Binoy Tamang faction, is the chairman of the GTA board of administrators.
Keshav Raj Pokhrel, spokesperson of the Tamang faction said, “Gurung and his men are a private limited company that supports anyone to serve its vested interest.”