Kolkata: Amid growing rift between the two factions of the Gorkha Janamukkti Morcha, party’s Binoy Tamang on Tuesday said he will not share any administrative or political platform with his rival Bimal Gurung. Tamang made the announcement in a press conference after he met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Bimal Gurung chapter is closed in the Hills. He and his supporters have no relevance. Today, we met our chief minister to discuss the matters related to the development of the Hills and nothing else,” Tamanag said.
He further added that even though no discussion in context of Gurung was held during the meeting, he will not share any administrative and political platform with him. Launching a scathing attack on Gurung, Tamang branded him as a “proclaimed offender”. “The matter is sub-judice and I don’t want to comment much on the matter,” he said.
Banerjee had called the meeting after series of protests against GJM’s Bimal Gurung were held by his opposition camp in the Hills. The protests broke out after Gurung last month extended his support to Banerjee for the upcoming Assembly polls scheduled for 2021.
The supporters of Tamang and Anik Thapa’s factions of the GJM had organised the protests alleging that Gurung had done nothing for the Gorkha people and was extending support only for plum posts.
Gurung had been on the run since 2017 following an agitation for statehood in Darjeeling. He made a surprise entry in the Bengal poll stage on October 21 and extended his support to Banerjee’s TMC for the polls next year. “We supported the BJP for 12 years but nothing happened to our demand despite their assurances of fulfilling our promise. I would like to announce that I am going to support Mamata Banerjee in the upcoming 2021 Assembly polls. I am not supporting the NDA anymore,” he had said then.
The Tamang faction of the GJM had become close to Mamata after Gurung joined hands with the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Gurung’s sudden appearance and switching of sides ahead of Assembly polls had agitated Tamang faction of the GJM.
Gurung appeared in the political arena last month for the first time since 2017 after he had to leave the hills after the West Bengal police launched a massive operation to arrest him and Roshan Giri. A special team of the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had then raided a resort in Sikkim’s Namchi area following information about him, but he had managed to escape.
Between July and September 2017, the Darjeeling hills suffered a 104-day record general shutdown called by Gurung demanding a separate Gorkhaland. During the agitation, 13 persons, including two policemen, died.
In August, the Gurung faction had distanced itself from a tripartite meeting called by the Union Home Ministry “to review the GTA system" in the hills.
The first demand for Gorkhaland was submitted to Morley-Minto Reforms panel in 1907. The All India Gorkha League in 1952 submitted a memorandum to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for a separate state.
The agitation reached its peak between 1985 and 1986 and in August 1988 the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) signed the Darjeeling Hill Accord (DHA) under the leadership of Subhash Ghisingh. The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) was later formed with an agreement that Ghisingh will give up its demand for a separate Gorkhaland.
The issue cropped up when the Left Front government decided not to hold DGHC elections due in 2004 and empowered Ghisingh to look after it. This led to resentment among workers and Gurung, the most trusted aide of Ghisingh, broke all ties with GNLF.