Kolkata: In a major setback to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, around 30 Trinamool Congress functionaries have left the party to join Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) amid protests for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
More party members are poised to join the two groups soon. Speaking to News18, GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimba Tamang said some TMC members have already joined them and more have expressed their wiliness to join the movement. “Soon we will officially announce their names publicly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee held an emergency meeting with Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and briefed him about the current situation in the hills. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also sought a report on the ongoing crisis.
GJM president Bimal Gurung, however, said the movement would not stop even “if all CRPF personnel of the country are sent here.”
GJM sources said that on Tuesday night some TMC workers met party leaders in Darjeeling, Kurseong and in Kalimpong to discuss the common agenda of Gorkhaland.
“So far 30 TMC workers have joined us and more will join soon. They have taken this decision after being annoyed with the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her anti-Gorkhaland stand. We are not publicly announcing their names. It will be done at the right time,” said Tamang.
GJM’s assistant general secretary Vinay Tamang said some prominent faces are among those willing to switch. “They are all Gorkhas and this movement is for them too. Hopefully they will also join us soon.”
On Tuesday, the TMC unit in the Hills had suffered another major setback as former chairman of the Kalimpong Municipality C. K. Kumai resigned from the party to join the separate Gorkhaland movement.
The one-month partial strike called by GJM for its demand of a separate Gorkhaland entered its third day today. Most of the shops were closed in Chowkbazar and Mall Road in Darjeeling.
Morcha supporters took out rallies at various places in support of separate state, but the protests were largely peaceful. A large number of policemen have been deployed in front of all vital installations, officials said.
Government staff in the hill districts of Bengal have alleged that GJM supporters are forcing them to participate in the bandh and have threatened government against attending office.
There are also reports that GJM is planning to create hurdles for the developmental projects recently announced by the Chief Minister.
GJM’s movement for a separate Gorkhaland has gained momentum with six other hill parties including TMC’s ally GNLF extend their support. The parties had on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution demanding a separate state.