“I will not accept the BJP even if my life goes”: Bimal Gurung

News Desk: Speaking at Kalimpong public meeting on Thursday, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung said that he will not support BJP again even if he had to sacrifice his life and added that he would field candidates in seven Assembly seats in north Bengal. Gurung praised the Congress for setting up the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and including Nepali language in the 8th schedule of the Constitution and added that it is his time to rule.

“The BJP has betrayed us…..I will not accept the BJP even if my life goes. BJP’s politics was to keep me away from the hills. They were doing nothing for the hill people but they told me that I was being provided with security or else, I would be finished. Did I wait for three years to hear this? I walked out to finish them through the ballot. We will have our candidates in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Matigara, Malbazar, Madarihat and Kalchini.” Exuding confidence that he will fulfill the demands of the people of the hills, Gurung said, “I am the one to come to power soon. Don’t worry. It’s just a matter of time.”

Bimal Gurung also spoke exclusively to Republic TV after his first rally and said that he has spent 12 years supporting the BJP but has got nothing in return. While he stayed mum when questioned on the fact that Mamata Banerjee does not support his demand of a separate Gorkhaland and that his rival Binoy Tamang is already with TMC, he targeted the BJP saying that Home Minister Amit Shah and PM Modi hadn’t fulfilled their promise either. When asked about any secret deal with Mamata, and about his rival Binoy Tamang, he refused to answer and instead said:

“Who says I am selfish? When I resurfaced 50,000 people came to see me. Darjeeling people came to greet me, I am not selfish. I spent 12 years with BJP but BJP is selfish, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are selfish. They did not fulfill their promise with respect to Gorkhas. I want to ask BJP, where is the commitment that you made?”

Bimal Gurung resurfaces

On October 22, Bimal Gurung, the chief of a faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), surfaced in Kolkata and addressed a press meet announcing that he is withdrawing support from the BJP and extending support to Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. This u-turn by Gurung came as he resurfaced after almost three years. He had been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in 2017 when he had orchestrated a 104-day shutdown in the Darjeeling hills demanding separate statehood – Gorkhaland. Now, he said that he is walking out of the NDA as the BJP “failed to find a permanent political solution”. Other than UAPA, he stands accused on over 150 counts for his involvement in the agitation.

The separate state of Gorkhaland has been the longstanding demand of Gorkhas that gave rise to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha – led by Binoy Tamang. In 2017 a massive agitation began which also turned violent and posed a threat Mamata Banerjee’s administration. However, she was successful in quelling it after engineering a split between Tamang and Gurung. Tamang alleged that Gurung wants to get him killed and extended support to TMC along with his faction, while Gurung sided with the Centre under BJP.