Gorkha Janmukti Morcha quits NDA

Our Bureau Kolkata October 21 | Updated on October 21, 2020

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung   -  PTI

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) — the dominant political party that have been demanding separate Statehood for the Darjeeling hill region and a part of the foothills of West Bengal under the name Gorkhaland — has quit the NDA. The party will align with the Trinamool Congress for the upcoming 2021 elections in the State.

Party chief, Bimal Gurung, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not kept his commitment towards Gorkhaland.

“We are quitting the NDA as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi ji has not kept his commitment towards Gorkhaland. It has been six years now. In comparison, some of the solutions offered by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are more concrete. We will align with the Trinamool for the 2021 Assembly elections to teach the BJP a lesson,” Party chief, Bimal Gurung said.

“We will align with any political party who is willing to help us for a permanent political solution. We have not given up on the Statehood demand or on the demand for Gorkhaland,” Gurung added.

Known For Flip-Flops

The GJM, led by Gurung, shot to power in 2009-10 following mass support in the region. Violence and bandhs marked the various agitation programmes that it organised during the period. This led to worsening relations between the party and the then ruling Left Front.

It aligned with the Trinamool Congress in 2011 to win Assembly elections. But relations soon turned frosty. It quit the alliance and supported the BJP candidate SS Ahluwalia in 2014.

In 2017, the GJM witnessed a factional feud, with another leader Binay Tamang rising amongst the ranks and aligning with the Trinamool Congress. Tamang claimed he was the actual party Chief and not Gurung. Immediately after that, the State Government — ruling Trinamool Congress — slapped criminal charges, under various sections including the UAPA, on Gurung and his loyalists. Since then, Gurung and his loyalists were absconding.

In these three years Gurung has been fighting a pitched legal battle with the Trinamool that include securing protection against his arrest.

Dramatic Reentry

On Wednesday, nearly three years after he went absconding, Gurung resurfaced in Kolkata. He claimed that he was previously in Delhi and in Jharkhand for the last two months.

Gurung’s writ runs large and his re-entry into the hill politics, say political analysts, will change the political dynamics in parts of North Bengal. The Trinamool has failed to make inroads in the hills; and BJP was largely dependent of Gurung’s mass appeal to draw votes in the region.

“Bimal Gurung is the most prominent hill leader now. His aligning with Trinamool for 2021 will definitely have a bearing on the BJP’s prospects in the region,” the analyst said requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, State BJP President, Dilip Ghosh, pointed out that hill politics have changed over the years.

“The BJP is in no way responsible for the mismanagement of the Darjeeling hill region. Politics in the region is changing and there is still time before Assembly elections take place. Let’s wait and watch,” he said.

Published on October 21, 2020

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