THE HIMALAYAN BEACON
CORRESPONDENT PRAVIN THAMI
DARJEELING, 19 NOVEMBER 2017: A large number of people from various places gathered at Darjeeling Motor Stand to attend the meeting organised by the Darjeeling Sub-Division Unit of the Binay-Anit faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). This was despite the fact that Bimal Gurung, the Chief of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) had only yesterday made a desperate appeal to the people not to attend the meeting. The main speaker of the meet was Anit Thapa, the vice-chairman of Board of Administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). A large number of leaders said to have been one of the most ardent supporters of Bimal Gurung shared the dias with Anit Thapa. Among the most conspicuous faces was that of Amar Singh Rai, the Member of Legislative (MLA) Assembly from Darjeeling. Rohit Sharma, the MLA from Kurseong has been known to share dias with Anit Thapa in a number of occasion, however, this was for the first time that Rai was present in any major programme organised by the Binay-Anit faction.
The speakers in the meeting which included Alok Kant Mani Thulung, Kesav Raj Pokhrel, Anit Thapa among many others shared the idea that the party (GJM) had not failed but it was the top leadership mainly Bimal Gurung who had failed the people. It was his fear of being arrested and his lack of courage to face the State Government that the people at large found themselves having to fend for themselves and the agitation losing its rudder. Kesav Raj Pokhrel went to the extent of saying that while the youths and the students of the Hills were at the fore front of the movement, they had been waiting for their leader to appear before them and lead but sadly that leader never arrived. Instead he issued audio tapes from the jungle.
The speakers blamed Gurung for pursuing a violent movement, fumbling and losing control resulting in the lose of life of 12 people and the arrest and incarceration of hundreds if not thousands of people. They said that the Bimal Era had come to an end. Pokhrel said that the people had been waiting for their hero (leader) but their hero never arrived but there was nothing to worry because new heroes in the guise of Binay-Anit had arrived.
Political observers were of the view that the manner in which even the youngest of the leaders were critical of Bimal Gurung showed that Gurung had lost considerable support and that Gurung had overused his leverage and as a result lost it if not completely. A few weeks ago, there was considerable sympathy towards Gurung on the release of his audio tapes but the same were now being repetitive and more desperate as the days went by.
Pravin Thami is the Chief Cameraman and the Coordinator Darjeeling Region for ‘The Himalayan Beacon’.