TO STRENGTHEN its base in the Hills, the Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), is now eyeing Kalimpong — a known stronghold of the Bimal Gurung faction of the party. Days after the Mamata government set up a board of administrators to run the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), and appointed Tamang as its chairman, 17 councillors of Kurseong municipality had extended their support to the faction on Saturday.
On Sunday, 19 out of 32 councillors of Darjeeling municipality had also sided with the Tamang faction.
Anit Thapa, a member of the GTA board, who was also expelled from the GJM along with Tamang by Gurung, on Tuesday visited Kalimpong to meet GJM leaders and councillors. “As you can see, the influence of Bimal Gurung is diminishing day by day. We are speaking of development here,” Thapa told mediapersons.
Sources said that during the meetings, Thapa urged GJM leaders and councillors to support Tamang and the GTA.
Municipal polls were held in the Hills in May with the GJM sweeping Kalimpong with 19 seats. Trinamool Congress managed to win only two.
With Gurung in hiding — he has been booked twice under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act — almost all GJM leaders owing allegiance to him are either in hiding or in Delhi. The state government, meanwhile, plans to restart developmental schemes — such as MNREGS, stipends, Kanyashree, Yuvashree and others — in the Hills through the GTA, said officials.