It’s difficult for the TMC workers to take sides this time in this hill region as there is no joint election campaign planned in North Bengal with their allies of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
On one side is Bimal Gurung’s camp and on the other side is Binay Tamang camp. Since the return of Gurung after three and a half years, there has been a war of words between the two camps. The top leaders of the TMC have tried many times to settle their differences. Even Prashant Kishore’s efforts failed.
Mamata Banerjee’s announcement on Friday that the Trinamool Congress would not field candidates in three hill Assembly seats and instead let her “friends” contest, put party supporters in a quandary as they were confused which faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was “dearer” to the chief minister.
The Bimal Gurung and Binay Tamang camps of the Morcha, which are both allies of Trinamool, have decided to field their own candidates from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong Assembly constituencies. Then there will be no vote cutting and BJP will also not get additional benefits. But both the factions did not agree. They stuck by their own decision. Tamang and Gurung both are steadfast in testing their strength. Both groups will field different candidates in the three seats.
Two elections were held in the absence of Gurung. To defeat Tamag, Gurung has formed an alliance with arch-rival GNLF. He even gave a message on social media from a secret camp. During the Darjeeling by-election, Gurung’s Morcha defeated Tamang, GNLF and BJP alliance.
During the Lok Sabha elections, the Tamang alliance won. Even though Binay Tamang was in power in the Hill, he lost his face.
This time the Assembly election is a test for the Gurung’s Group. And he is relentlessly campaigning for it. Many times he said that his main goal is to make Mamata Banerjee the Chief Minister for the third time. Gurung claims he will not only win the three hill seats of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, but also influence the results in “10 to 15” seats in the Dooars and the Terai.
Binay Tamang camp of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided not to hold any joint election campaign programme with ally Trinamool Congress in the Darjeeling hills. “In the hills, we will not hold any joint meeting or organise campaigns with the TMC. Our party workers will, however, support the TMC candidates in the plains,” Tamang said.
GJM Binay faction to announce their candidates on March 21. He will declare the nominees on Sunday at a public meeting in Mungpoo, about 35km from Darjeeling, while Bimal Gurung will announce his candidates for the three hill seats on March 23.