Claiming that he has the support of a majority of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, Binay Tamang on Monday said he has suspended party chief Bimal Gurung, secretary Roshan Giri and 12 others for six months. He also alleged that a majority of GJM’s central committee leaders have elected him as president of the party and Anit Thapa as general secretary.
Gurung, in a letter released to the media later, claimed Tamang, whom he had expelled from GJM in September, had no authority to make any such decisions.
On Monday, some GJM leaders held a meeting at Ghum, near Darjeeling.
Tamang claimed it was attended by “43 per cent” of the GJM central committee. “The GJM central committee held a meeting and suspended Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri and 12 others for six months for not doing their duty and remaining absent from the Hills,” Tamang said after the meeting.
Though the central committee — which has the right to expel or suspend a member — once had around 93 members, sources said it was unclear as to who and how many were part of it now, as many had left the GJM to join other Hill parties after the fallout between Tamang and Gurung during the 104-day agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Gurung, in his letter, condemned the suspensions. “They have no authority to make any such decisions as far as GJM is concerned… Whatever they are doing in the name of GJM is illegal and strict legal action will be taken against them,” he claimed.
“I thank all the Gorkha people who have supported the Gorkhaland demand, believed in me and withstood the immense pressure from West Bengal government to give up on our dream and demand for a state of our own… Gorkhaland is not just for us, but more importantly for the future generations, and I will never give up my struggle because I do not want our future generations to live through the same discrimination and humiliation that we have had to face,” he added.
“The more they conspire against us, the stronger our resolve for Gorkhaland becomes. I request people to keep the faith and remain steadfast as we all collectively strive for a state of our own,” he said while signing off as the GJM president.
“The suspension is illegal. They do not have any right. Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa have already been expelled from the party,” said Giri, referring to Gurung expelling the two in September for “anti-party activities”. However, the state government had later made Tamang the chief of a board of administrators set up to run the Gorkha Territorial Administration, in turn also making him the chief of the GTA. Thapa was made a member of the board of administrators.
The new twist in Hill politics comes a day after Tamang held a big rally at Darjeeling’s Motor Stand. Attended by hundreds, it was perceived by many as a show of strength against the faction led by Gurung, who has been absconding since August after the state government booked him under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in bomb blasts in the Hills during the shutdown. Most of his loyalists are also in hiding.
Since he became the chief of the board of administrators, Tamang has been trying to extend his influence in the Hills in a bid to corner Gurung and his loyalists, sources said. Apart from a section of GJM leaders supporting him, Tamang was also able to garner support in Darjeeling and some other municipalities in the Hills. Thapa, who is no. 2 in the Tamang faction, has also been making rounds in different parts of the Hills, drawing leaders and elected municipal councillors to their side, sources added.
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