The Benoy Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state Secretariat in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Speculations were that the meeting was called to discuss plans after the Bimal Gurung faction of the GJM pledged to support Trinamool Congress(TMC) after 12 years. Gurung announced withdrawing support from the BJP-led NDA after a decade of supporting them with BJP MPs winning from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency for three consecutive terms.
The Gurung faction is unhappy with the BJP’s unfulfilled promises of separate statehood demands. While this is good news for TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, the Tamang faction that had always supported Mamata now refuses to be on the same platform as Gurung ahead of the 2021 West Bengal polls.
"We have not discussed any issues related to Bimal Gurung. He is a fugitive and law will take its course. We talked about matters related to infrastructure development in the Hills. It was a fruitful meeting," said Benoy Tamang while addressing a press conference after meeting Mamata reportedly on infrastructure and other development issues.
His colleague in the Gorkha Territorial Administration(GTA) Anit Thapa held a closed-door meeting where urban Development Minister Firhad Hakkim and Chief Secretary Alapon Bandhopadhyay were present.
Tamang added that there are 140 cases against Gurung and supporting him is out of the question. “We have to respect the judiciary. But Bimal Gurung is running away from the court. In our syllabus, there is no Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri. Our talk was how to take North Bengal ahead. We want peace and normalcy. Who is Bimal Gurung? I am saying this because we are not going to share any political platform with Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri…And today the talk was not about them.”
Gurung was absconding since 2017 after being booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA). He resurfaced last month and held a press conference in Kolkata where he announced withdrawing support to the NDA.
This announcement has created unrest in the hills. On the day that Tamang met the West Bengal Chief Minister, there were protests by his supporters against the Gurung faction. Meanwhile, the BJP looked at this as dirty politics and the ruling TMC party’s way of disrupting peace in the hills.