Bimal Gurung Indian politician

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Bimal Gurung
Personal details
Born (1964-07-17) 17 July 1964 (age 56)
Pathley Bash
NationalityIndian
Political partyGorkha Janmukti Morcha
Children6
Websitebimalgurung.in

Bimal Gurung is an Indian politician and one of the founders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a political party demanding the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland within India. He was the chairperson of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, which is a semi-autonomous body that governs the hilly areas or Darjeeling District and the terai region in the state of West Bengal.

Gurung has been in hiding since 2017 for fear of being arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after he and his aides were allegedly held accountable for breach of peace in the Darjeeling hills.[1][2][3]

In October 2020, Gurung and GJM quit National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and allied with All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) before the upcoming 2021 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election.

DGHC

Bimal Gurung was formerly a Gorkha Volunteers Corps member who fought for the creation of a Gorkhaland state in India during 1986-1988 under the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).[4] He became a councillor representing Tukver constituency in the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) after the previous councillor Rudra Pradhan was murdered in Darjeeling. He became a close aide of Subhash Ghisingh, the leader of GNLF and chairman of DGHC. Later, he turned against his mentor to launch the second agitation for a Gorkhaland state.

Sixth Schedule

The fourth DGHC elections were due in 2004. However, the government decided not to hold elections and instead made Subhash Ghisingh the sole caretaker of the DGHC till the Sixth Schedule council was established. Most of the other political parties and organisations opposed the setting up of a Sixth Schedule Tribal Council as there was only a minority tribal population in the DGHC area. Resentment among the former councillors of DGHC also grew rapidly. Among them, Bimal Gurung decided to break away from the GNLF.[5] Riding on a mass support for Prashant Tamang, an Indian Idol candidate from Darjeeling in 2007, Bimal quickly capitalised on the public support he received for supporting Prashant, and was able to overthrow Ghisingh from the seat of power. Ghisingh resigned from the chairmanship of the DGHC in March 2008[6] and shifted residence to Jalpaiguri. GNLF lost most of its support and cadres to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, a new party headed by Bimal Gurung.

Gorkhaland demand

Immediately upon formation of GJM, Bimal renewed the demand of the formation of a Gorkhaland state comprising the Darjeeling district and many areas of the Dooars. The total area of the proposed state is 6450 km2 and comprises Banarhat, Bhaktinagar, Birpara, Chalsa, Darjeeling, Jaigaon, Kalchini, Kalimpong, Kumargram, Kurseong, Madarihat, Malbazar, Mirik and Nagarkatta.[7] Unlike the 1980s, GJM has maintained that the struggle for Gorkhaland would be through non-violence and non-cooperation.[8] Bimal received mass support from the people of Darjeeling district, Dooars and other parts of India for his statehood demand.[9]

But after the contentious issue of the broad-daylight murder of former ABGL chief Madan Tamang in May 2010, to which Gurung is believed to be heavily linked, many key GJM leaders such as Trilok Dewan, Amar Singh Rai, Amar Lama, Anmole Prasad and Palden Lama resigned from the party, leading to massive speculation about the veracity of Gurung's statement denying his party's links with Tamang's murder.

Darjeeling returned to normalcy in 2011 after TMC-INC coalition government came to power in West Bengal. Tripartite GTA agreement was signed between the government of India, West Bengal government, and GJM in 2011.[10] But it seems short lived and GJM has again raised the issue of Gorkhaland & given call for an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling in June 2017.[11]

In October 2020, Gurung and GJM quit NDA and allied with TMC before the upcoming 2021 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election.[12][13]

References

  1. ^ "As NIA initiates preliminary enquiry in Darjeeling, Bimal Gurung, in hiding, welcomes move". The Indian Express. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Darjeeling abandoned: Bimal Gurung hiding, CM Mamata Banerjee playing waiting game, MP Ahluwalia missing". India Today. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ "SC order dismissing GJM leader Bimal Gurung's plea seeking protection from arrest could alter political calculus in hills - Firstpost". www.firstpost.com. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Prisoner of rhetoric". Times of India. 24 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Smouldering hills". Frontline. 21 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Subhas Ghising resigns". The Hindu. 11 March 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Why Gorkhaland?" (PDF). GJM official. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "GJM places demands, Buddhadeb says no division of West Bengal". The Hindu. 9 May 2008. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "GJM leader Bimal Gurung: Utterly self-possessed and apparently ruthless". Rediff.com. 3 June 2010.
  10. ^ "Darjeeling tripartite pact signed for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration". The Times of India. 18 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Gorkhaland agitators step up Darjeeling shutdown". hindustantimes.com. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung quits NDA, joins TMC". Moneycontrol. 21 October 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Bimal Gurung's GJM quits NDA: What impact will this have on Bengal politics?". The Indian Express. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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