In a move that left the region “surprised,” shocked” and “confused,” the president of one of the factions of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, Binoy Tamang, today resigned from his own party.
Among the several reasons Mr Tamang cited for the move, he mentioned a “conspiracy” being hatched to “remove” him from Hill politics. Mr Tamang also said that he would return the party flag that he had “saved” during 2017 Gorkhaland agitation to its rightful owner, Bimal Gurung, and made it clear that he would not join the Trinamul Congress, the BJP or the Gurung faction of the Morcha.
Addressing a press conference at his house at Dali, 4 km away from Darjeeling town, an emotional, Mr Tamang, said, “It becomes my moral responsibility to resign from the party, with defeats in parliamentary elections in 2019 and the 2021 Bengal elections. It is also true that many party functionaries were not serious in organizational matters and played dual roles.”
“A conspiracy was there against me from the very start, to curtail my political activities in the Hills. However, even though I am leaving the party, I will continue to do politics and work for the people and the Hills,” said Mr Tamang. He, however, said that he would announce his next move later.
In his resignation letter addressed to party general secretary Anit Thapa, with copies forwarded to the leader of the other faction Bimal Gurung, Mr Tamang has also cited differences with senior party leaders for his decision.
Mr Tamang started his political career with the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) along with others, launching the GJMM on 7 October 2007, under Mr Gurung. In the height of the statehood agitation in 2017, he, along with Anit Thapa, took control of the party after Mr Gurung and several senior leaders went into hiding. His party then became to be known as the Binoy Tamang faction of the GJMM.
Mr Tamang was also the nominated chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) but resigned when he contested a by-election, which he lost. “Many rumours have also been circulated by conspirators that I am trying to join the BJP, TMC or the Gurung camp, which are all false, as I have not made any contact with them. However, till now, there have been two chapters in my political life–one when I was in the GNLF and the other when I was in the Morcha. I will start the third and last chapter now,” Mr Tamang said.
Like his unexpected decision to send a copy of his resignation letter to Mr Gurung, equally strange was his announcement to hand over the party flag to Mr Gurung.
“In 2017, my sole motive for taking the step was to save the party and the flag. Now that the rightful owner has returned, I will hand over the party flags that is with me to Bimal Daju,” he said, while also appealing that the faction that he led no longer be called the Binoy Tamang camp.
Reacting to his resignation, Mr Gurung said, “The decision he has taken is a good one and we welcome it, as he has understood what the party had been formed for. He has also said that the flag will be given to the rightful owner, which I welcome too, as there has been a dispute regarding the name and flag of two parties.” Mr Gurung also said that he would welcome Tamang to his party if he wanted to join.
On the other hand, Anit Thapa said, “The announcement was unexpected and came as a surprise, and we cannot understand the reason behind it,” adding that he was confused too. The faction has now called an emergency central committee tomorrow to discuss the issue and make a decision.
“Maybe, he is thinking of better things. Everyone has their thought process and reasons. We will continue with the slogan of the new path and a vision which was given by him,” Mr Thapa said.
Darjeeling’s BJP MP Raju Bista said: “Everyone knows that any political party that is based on lies, deception and formed to work against the aspirations of the people will one day implode from the inside and I believe that is what has happened.”