Leaders of anti-Trinamul Congress political parties, as well as political observers, do not find any significance in the meeting between Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung and his former deputy Binoy Tamang in Darjeeling yesterday.
While veteran CPIM leader Asok Bhattacharya branded both Mr Gurung and Mr Tamang as “vote sellers” from the Hills, leaders from the BJP, Trinamul Congress, and a former Inspector General of Police (IG), Pankaj Datta, said Mr Gurung, who is in a ‘siege’, is simply a ‘stooge’ of the Trinamul Congress.
“The meeting between Bimal Gurung and Binoy Tamang has no significance and their statements hold no meaning. Both Gurung and Tamang were bought either by the BJP or the Trinamul Congress. As one sold votes, another one surrendered before the TMC. We want a permanent solution to the Hill problem,” Mr Bhattacharya said.
According to political observers, when Binoy Tamang, who had managed an escape route for Bimal Gurung earlier joined hands with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee when people were in trouble due to the strike that lasted 104 days in 2017, Mr Gurung, as the ‘guardian’ of the Hills, said today: “We don’t know whether Binoy would join us, but being a guardian, I want to go along with all, including Binoy and others.”
Significantly, former IG Pankaj Datta said: “Bimal Gurung is a self-made guardian. He has no power to recover his position after his absence in the Hills for four long years. He could have achieved nothing since he was outside of his homeland. People have witnessed power equilibrium in the Hills without the presence of Bimal Gurung.”
Mr Datta also said that election strategist Prashant Kishore and even All India Trinamul Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee had expected better election results in the Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars, banking on Bimal Gurung, but that BJP bagged a maximum number of seats in the region.
“At present, the position of Binoy Tamang is better than that of Bimal Gurung because his candidate won (the Assembly elections) from Kalimpong,” the former IG added.
“On the other hand, the BJP has hijacked the separate state issue of Gorkhaland to a separate state of North Bengal just to weaken Bimal Gurung. The BJP has been keeping control over the region from Cooch Bihar to Darjeeling district by appointing Nisith Pramanik and John Barla as Union ministers and Raju Bista as the General Secretary of the BJP’s youth wing in the national level,” Mr Datta said, adding, “Once, Delhi-based reporter Indrajit Singh Khullar played a role as the mediator, highlighting the issues during the tenure of Subash Ghisingh. Migratory Birds like Jaswant Singh and others, banking on Hill leaders, became MPs and used to raise the Hill issues in Delhi.
“Even Raju Bista, the present Darjeeling MP, was not exceptional. But Mr Bista has broken the tradition and finally without the help of Bimal Gurung managed to bag maximum seats even from the Dooars, and now Gurung has no one who will highlight his voice.” According to him, when opposition political parties are being united in Delhi, Bimal Gurung is in Darjeeling. “No one has asked him to join the meeting in Delhi. Now he is alone,” Mr Datta added.