After three years, Bimal Gurung returned to Darjeeling and reiterated his support for the Trinamool Congress ( TMC) in the upcoming state election. ‘BJP was planning 49 seats with our support in North of West Bengal, we will now show BJP by making Mamta CM for the third time,” Gurung said at Chowkbazar area in the Hills.
Who Is Bimal Gurung?
Bimal Gurung is an Indian Political leader and founder of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The party aims to form a separate Gorkhaland state in Indian hills located in West Bengal. Gurung earlier supported the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and helped it to win the Darjeeling election. Gurung had made a dramatic reappearance in Kolkata on October 21.
Gurung and his GJM quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and allied with Trinamool Congress before the upcoming 2021 assembly election. After resurfacing in Kolkata on October 21 last year, he supported Trinamool Congress and accused the BJP of betraying the Gorkhas. Bimal Gurung, who was earlier a Gorkha Volunteers Corps member, fought to create a Gorkhaland state during 1986-1988 under the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).
He was a close aide of Subhash Ghisingh, the leader of GNLF and chairman of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. Later, he turned against Ghisingh to launch the second agitation for a Gorkhaland state. Gurung has been hiding since 2017 for fear of being arrested.
Gorkhaland consists of Nepali speaking people of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and other hilly districts of West-Bengal. The people living in these areas have different cultures, ethics, and languages from the people living in West Bengal. The Gorkhaland movement mainly focused on the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal, which demands a separate state of Gorkhaland. In the 2019 election manifesto, BJP had mentioned recognising 11 left out Indian Gorkha sub-tribes as scheduled Tribes.
The same promise was made in the election manifesto of 2014 and 2009, but the Gorkhas demand, on the other hand, remains unfulfilled. Mr Gurung, who has broken ties with the BJP, said that in the past ten years, the party has done nothing for the people of the Hills and urged the people to teach it a lesson in the 2021 Assembly polls. GJM leader lashed out at BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya to protect him from a staged encounter by the state police. “Now, with the TMC by my side, I will encounter the BJP.
The BJP has not only deceived me, but they have deceived the Gorkha’ jaati (community)’, and the Gorkhas will punish it,” he added. Darjeeling hills had repeatedly witnessed violent agitation over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. In 2017, the hills saw a 104-day-long strike called by Gurung over the issue. The question arises: Will Mamta Banerjee solve the Gorkhaland issues if they won the assembly seat in Darjeeling and North Bengal?
Trinamool Congress Backs Bimal Gurung
Gurung, who was earlier in support of the BJP, went underground in 2017 after Gorkhaland supporters indulge in violent activities for over 100 days demanding a separate state. He was charged under several sections of the Indian Penal code and Unlawful activities connected with a grenade attack at Kalimpong police station and an explosion in Darjeeling Chowk Bazaar in 2017.
He has offered to support Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee in upcoming elections to win an assembly seat in Darjeeling and other North Bengal parts. After Gurung’s support, the West Bengal Government has started withdrawing the criminal cases against Bimal Gurung and 100 of his followers who took part in the 2017 Gorkhaland movement that witnessed violence.
A senior lawyer, who did not want to be named, said, “It is not Gurung alone who is being spared. Cases slapped against Binoy Tamang and Anit Thapa, general secretary of the other faction, to are being withdrawn as well.” More than 156 cases were pending against Gurung.
The state law department had asked for my opinion. I gave my views, and an application was sent to the governor, which is legally required. Around 80 cases have already been withdrawn,” said Rai. Gurung had announced In October 2020 that he would help the Trinamool Congress (TMC) win at least 18 assembly seats in north Bengal when elections in the state are held next year. The Trinamool has never won any of the Hill seats, and neither does it have a famous face in the region, but it hopes to better its performance after receiving support from GJM leader Bimal Gurung.