Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung is scheduled to reach Siliguri on 6 December, according to a party leader. The leader, however, added that Mr Gurung will arrive in the Hills only “a few days after his halt there.”
The development comes after the decision of another leader of the Morcha faction, Roshan Giri, to address a public meeting in Kurseong tomorrow. Observers are seeing the Morcha move as the party’s way of testing the waters before Mr Gurung finally makes a return to the Hills after three years of hiding.
“Our party president Bimal Gurung will be reaching Siliguri on the 6th of next month. He will, however, not come to the Hills on that day, and will stay there for two to four days and also address a public meeting at Bhagajatin Park. He will hold some party programmes while he is in Siliguri, and then head for the Hills,” their party spokesperson, Binita Roka, said.
According to her, Mr Gurung, after arriving in the hills, will stay here for around 10 to 15 days before again heading back to the plains. Mr Gurung is likely to stay at the Pattabung Guest House here, she said, maintaining that his house has to be repaired as no one was staying there for the past few years.
Explaining the reason for concentrating in the plains, she said, “The ruling party in the state has expectations from our party that we can manage a maximum number of seats for them during the Assembly elections next year. Bimal Gurung is not only a local leader, but has support bases at different places. It was our party’s decision that he should first focus on the Terai and the Dooars areas as our support in the Hills is still intact. To check the BJP in the plains, his probability of staying there is more as we have very less time on our hands.”
The Gurung camp spokesperson also appealed to their supporters to not welcome Mr Gurung with ‘khadas’ (traditional white scarf), as, according to her, the crowd there would be huge and Covid protocols need to be followed.
Speaking of their party general secretary Roshan Giri’s presence in a proposed public meeting in Kurseong tomorrow, she said, “It was due to the demand of the people that he will be attending the meeting there tomorrow. However, there are a lot of judicial matters that are pending. As such, he will go back to Kolkata after the meeting.”
On the other hand, leader of the other faction of the Morcha, Anit Thapa, said anyone can return home in a democracy. “However, the peace we have restored in the Hills should not be disturbed. We are seeing that cadres of their faction are working with the intention of revenge, which should not be the case. Even if peace is disturbed we are ready to restore it as we had done three years back,” Mr Thapa said.
Mr Thapa also said that they have no intention of creating a hindrance in the return of other faction leaders to the Hills as they believed in democracy.
Mr, Giri, meanwhile, arrived in Siliguri from Kolkata today. Talking to reporters at the Bagdogra Airport, Mr Giri said that Mr Gurung is “likely” to reach Siliguri on 6 December.
According to him, his party will support any party that will support the Gorkhaland demand in the 2024 parliamentary elections.