GJM faction leader Binoy Tamang on Tuesday expressed satisfaction at the outcome of his meeting with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, but argued that any association with Gorkha’s “fugitive” leader Bimal Gurung, was unlikely.
Claiming that “Bimal Gurung is a closed chapter” in Darjeeling, Tamang, who has been a TMC ally since 2017, said he, along with his colleague and Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) chairman Anit Thapa, discussed of “several questions” related to the development of the hills.
“We have not discussed any issues related to Bimal Gurung. He is a fugitive and the law will run its course. We have discussed issues related to infrastructure development in the hills. It was a fruitful meeting,” a- he said at a press conference. .
Ms Banerjee, along with Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and Ministers of State Aroop Biswas and Firhad Hakim, held a one-hour closed-door meeting with Tamang and Thapa. The state government has yet to release a statement on the meeting.
Mr Tamang, who opposed the proposal to return Mr Gurung to the hills, said people in Darjeeling did not want him to return.
“We do not share any administrative and political platform with Gurung. He has been accused of so many cases, nearly 140 cases, some of which fall under the UAPA. How can we have an association with him?” he said.
Mr. Gurung, who had been in hiding for three years, resurfaced in Kolkata on October 21 and pledged his support for the TMC, after leaving the NDA, sparking the discontent of the Tamang faction which had always supported the Mamata Banerjee party in the past.
Rallies have been staged in the hills by the Tamang faction opposing Mr. Gurung’s entry since October 22, prompting the fugitive leader’s loyalists to organize counter-rallies to welcome him. Currently, Mr. Gurung is based in Kolkata with his trusted associates.
Criticizing development as “dirty politics,” the BJP state unit said the ruling TMC was trying to disrupt the peace in the hills.
“It is nothing but dirty politics to disrupt the peace. We condemn such a politics … Just to win a few seats, the ruling TMC is pushing the hills towards instability.” BJP National Secretary General Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
The TMC, however, denied the accusation as unfounded and said it was the BJP that attempted to create unrest in Darjeeling.
“The BJP had tried to stir up unrest in the hills. We brought peace,” TMC MP Sougata Roy said.
Picturesque Darjeeling had witnessed on several occasions violent unrest over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, the most recent in June 2017, when the hills saw a 104-day strike over the issue.
The strike also led to a split within the GJM, with Binay Tamang, formerly deputy of the party’s supremo Gurung, taking the reins of the party and expelling the boss.
Although the GJM faction led by Gurung continued to align with the BJP, the other side, led by Tamang, joined the ruling TMC in the state.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)