A group of senior leaders and hardcore supporters of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha’s (GJMM) Bimal Gurung faction have filed nomination papers to contest the three-tier rural elections as BJP candidate in the Dooars, comprising Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts.
GJMM leaders and supporters of the fugitive Hill leader Bimal Gurung have said they will try to file more nomination papers from more places in the Dooars if the Calcutta High Court asks the State Election Commission to extend the time frame for filing of nomination papers.
Notably, after a thorough hearing on the issue of free and fair polls, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday said it will deliver a verdict tomorrow. The State Election Commission had decided to extend the time frame for filing of nominations and had suddenly withdrawal the same earlier.
“We will file more nomination papers to contest the rural polls if the Calcutta High Court asks the commission to extend the time frame for filing of nominations,” a senior GJMM leader and Central committee member, Madhukar Thapa, who belongs to the Gurung camp, said.
Expressing happiness on the High Court hearing on the rural polls, Mr Thapa said: “We could not file nomination papers at many places due to non-cooperation of the administration. However, we also have doubts that the Trinamul Congress, with the help of the administration, will prevent us from filing the nomination papers.”
“This time around, we are in no position to field candidates as Independents or to represent the GJMM as our president, Bimal Gurung, is out of the state. It is also true that many Morcha leaders associated with the party central committee have joined the Trinamul Congress to avoid repression,” Mr Thapa claimed, adding, “As a result, we have decided to contest the rural polls under the banner of the BJP.”
On the other hand, former president of the GJMM’s Dooars unit, BB Khawas, who is completely inactive now, said: “I don’t have information about the political activities of the GJMM here, especially in Jaigaon where I live. Being a school teacher, I am carrying out my duties. I was the president of the GJMM Dooars unit earlier, but not now.”
“As far as my knowledge goes, 70 percent leaders and supporters of the GJMM have joined the Trinamul Congress, while the remaining have joined the BJP,” Mr Khawas added.
A Trinamul leader and a senior vice-president of the Cha Mazdoor Union in Alipurduar, Bablu Mukherjee, admitted that a sizable portion of the GJMM supporters have joined hands with his party, while the others have joined the BJP.
“Several hardcore GJMM supporters have finally realized that their leaders from the Hills used them to earn dividends, but the Hill leaders do not share the dividends with leaders in the Dooars,” Mr Mukherjee said.
Dooars-based leader of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM), Madhukar Thapa, who still supports fugitive Morcha leader Bimal Gurung, has been campaigning against rebel leader Binoy Tamang and accusing him of “ruining the dream for Gorkhaland.”
It may be mentioned here that a senior leader of the GJMM, belonging to the Binoy Tamang camp, had asked the party’s working committee and core committee members, during a meeting at Upper Bagrakote on 5 April, to take action against Mr Thapa.
As the Tamang camp met at Bagrakote in Kalimpong to decide on their stand on the rural polls, other leaders came to a conclusion that the party should support the Trinamul Congress in the rural polls in the Dooars as Mr Thapa, defying Binoy Tamang, had already extended support to the BJP in the tea belt of the Dooars.
In that same meeting, the Tamang faction of the GJMM had decided to extended support to the Trinamul in the upcoming rural elections. In the last rural polls, GJMM members under Bimal Gurung had contested the rural polls in the Dooars under three symbols of three types of fan for the three tiers.
Mr Gurung had selected the table fan for the Gram Panchayat candidates, pedestal fan for Panchayat Samiti and ceiling fan for the upper tier, the Zilla Parishad. The results were good in the Nepali-speaking belt in the Dooars region.
Asked to comment, Madhukar Thapa said: “I don’t take Binoy Tamang as the party president. I still think Bimal Gurung is the party president. The reason behind this is nothing but the wrong method that Tamang chose to become the party president.”
“Binoy Tamang has become the party president illegally and without a majority support and by going against the party statute. How can we accept him? We are still upset about all this,” Mr Thapa said, adding, “We still believe that formation of a separate state for the Gorkha people is the only solution to the problems and the identity crisis faced by the Gorkhas.”