October 2, 2017: The BJP leaders could be sailing into rough waters during their future visit to the hills of North Bengal. Binay Tamang, rebel GJM leader has asked the BJP to clarify their stand on the Gorkhaland issue before coming up to the Hills. He also anticipated law and order problems during their Hill visit.
"We have got information, with the bandh lifted, State BJP leaders including State President Dilip Ghosh along with the BJP MP from Darjeeling SS Ahluwalia will soon be visiting Darjeeling. We appeal to them to make the BJP's stand clear on the Gorkhaland demand. They should make it clear whether they support the creation of Gorkhaland or not. Let them answer yes or no. In case they fail to clarify the BJP's stand and they face protests and demonstrations in Darjeeling, we will not be responsible" stated Tamang talking to media persons in Darjeeling on Monday.
The GJM leader stated that the BJP team is coming up to Darjeeling to support some "old" leaders. "They will be arriving here to prop up some leaders (read Bimal Gurung.) It is an exercise for 2019 elections but the Hills have understood the truth. It could create law and order problems in the Hills. Normalcy and peace is returning to Darjeeling. We do not want any unrest at this juncture" retorted Tamang.
Incidentally GJM President Bimal Gurung is now on the run having been implicated in a number of cases. He has also been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. There is a Look-out notice by the West Bengal CID in his name along with arrest warrant.
The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on September 26 had appealed to Gurung to lift the bandh and had assured him of talks with the Union Government within a fortnight on "all related issues."
Speculations are rife, specially in the Gurung faction of the GJM camp that there could be attempts of arresting Gurung when he goes to attend the Delhi talks.
Gurung had immediately announced the lifting of the bandh that had hit the 104 day mark.
The GJM leader stated that the public were unhappy with the BJP and specially MP SS Ahluwalia. "Despite the agitation and death of 10 Gorkhaland supporters the MP failed to turn up to his constituency Darjeeling. The Union Government also remained silent" claimed Tamang.
Incidentally on July 21, the Gorkha National Liberation Front had lodged a missing diary with the Darjeeling police and put up "missing" posters in the name of SS Ahluwalia. "It is good to know that with peace and normalcy even our MP SS Ahluwalia is returning to the Hills. He should stay here and enjoy the Hills now as he will not have much to do with Darjeeling after the 2019 elections" scorned Ajoy Edward, Central Committee member of the GNLF.
Tamang stated that twice Darjeeling had ensured the victory of BJP Parliamentary candidates. "In 2009 Jaswant Singh emerged victorious in the Lok Sabha elections from the Darjeeling constituency. Again in 2014 SS Ahluwalia won from Darjeeling. During both the elections the BJP manifesto assured to sympathetically consider the Gorkhaland demand. But nothing has translated into action," alleged Tamang.
The GJM leader stated that when a GJM team had met BJP National President Amit Shah in Delhi on June 15 and again in June 28, 2017 and questioned him on the BJP's stand on Gorkhaland, Shah had clearly stated that the BJP is yet to take a stand on this issue.
"SS Ahluwalia, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture during a recent visit to Tripura had clearly ruled out the bifurcation of both Tripura and West Bengal through the creation of Twipraland and Gorkhaland respectively. BJP West Bengal State President Dilip Ghosh during earlier visits to Kalimpong and West Bengal had stated that West Bengal will not be bifurcated and that BJP does not support the creation of Gorkhaland. Both Ahluwalia and Ghosh has to seek apology for such statements" demanded Tamang. The Hill public will definitely oppose and demonstrate during their visit to the Hills.
If the BJP make their stand on Gorkhaland clear before visiting the Hills then the Tamang faction of the GJM would meet them in the Hills.
Talking about future programmes of the GJM, Tamang stated that already two rounds of talks have been held with the State Government.
"The next round of talk with the State is slated for October 16 in Kolkata. Following this we will concentrate on Delhi where we will meet leaders and the Government with the Gorkhaland demand" added Tamang.