Darjeeling: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Bimal Gurung, General Secretary Roshan Giri, Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha President Asha Gurung along with 11 others were suspended for six months from the party on Monday.
Binay Tamang was nominated the new President and Anit Thapa the General Secretary of the GJM. The development took place on Monday, a day ahead of the bipartite meeting between the West Bengal Government and hill political outfits in Siliguri. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is attending the talks.
Giri dubbing the expulsion "illegal" has threatened to take legal recourse.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Central Committee meeting replaced Gurung with Tamang on Monday.
Following the meeting, addressing media persons, Binay Tamang stated "Invoking Article 6 and 7 of the GJM constitution we have suspended 14 GJM members including Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri and Asha Gurung for 6 months for having failed to discharge their duties as well as not being present in the Hills" stated Binay Tamang.
The 14 suspended from the party for 6 months include front rung GJM leaders and leaders from GJM and the frontal organizations.
The central committee thereby invoking Article 7(j) of the party constitution unanimously nominated Tamang as the President and Anit Thapa as the General Secretary.
While Tamang's name for the post of President was proposed by GJM Central Committee member LM Lama, the name of Anit Thapa for the post of General Secretary was proposed by Alok Kanta Mani Thulung.
"We initially had a 93 member central committee. However many have resigned and some have joined other political outfits. There were 37 members present in the Central Committee meeting which makes it a 43% attendance. We will appraise the change in portfolios to the State Election Commission and the Election Commission of India as GJM is a registered party" stated Tamang. A quorum is reached at around 33% attendance.
As the remaining 12 suspensions have left important port folios vacant in the frontal organizations affiliated to the GJM, a central committee meeting to be held soon will decide on the leaders to fill up the vacant posts, added Tamang.
Incidentally with the renewed agitation and the 104 day long bandh in the Hills since June, the GJM suffered a major blow and a vertical split. Tamang and Thapa coming out in open against the 104 day long bandh had parted ways with Gurung. They had given a call for the lifting of the bandh.
Gurung then claimed that a Central Committee had expelled Tamang and Thapa. The rebel leaders continued with the GJM asking Gurung to prove the quorum of the meeting.
Later Tamang was nominated the Chairman of the Board of Administrators (BOA) to run the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and Thapa the Vice Chairman, further putting Gurung in a tight spot.
Gurung who has been implicated in a number of cases and has been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act is on the run. He has a Look-out notice along with an arrest warrant in his name.
From undisclosed locations Gurung has been sending audio clips dubbing Tamang and Thapa for having sided with the West Bengal Government thereby selling the Gorkhaland demand. Gurung warned the Hills to stay away from "traitors" Tamang and Thapa.
Gurung had even appealed the Hills to stay away from the rally organized by Tamang and Thapa faction on November 19, dubbing it a "Black day."
However defying Gurung's diktat, the rally on Sunday had witnessed a huge turnout. Bolstered by this the GJM Central Committee ousted Gurung, Giri, Asha Gurung and Gurung sympathizers.
The move also comes a day ahead of bipartite talks between the State Government and Hill parties to find a solution to the Gorkha impasse. The meeting is scheduled to be held at 4pm at Pintail Village in the outskirts of Siliguri.
Binay Tamang; Anit Thapa; Darjeeling MLA Amir Singh Rai; Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma; central committee members Tshering Dahal and Sanchabir Subba will be attending the bipartite talks with the State Government. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also be attending the talks.
Tamang and Thapa taking over the reins of the party has put them at an advantage feel political commentators. They will have to locus standi to attend tripartite talks between the State, Centre and the GJM in the capacity of the President and General Secretary of the hill political outfit.
The central committee meeting on Monday held in a resort in Ghoom, 8km from Darjeeling town also decided to expand, consolidate and strengthen the party along with the frontal organizations.
A GJM rally will be held in Sukna near Siliguri within the second week of December to be attended by party workers and supporters from the Hills, Terai and Dooars.
A 3 member GJM team led by LM Lama will be taking part in Gorkhaland demand programme in Delhi on November 26th organized by Gorkhaland Sangarsha Samity.
Roshan Giri reacting to the suspension stated "Suspension is illegal. They do not have any right. Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa have already been expelled from the party. We will seek legal recourse."