| The branch committee meeting in progress. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Oct. 4: The GNLF today expelled Bimal Gurung, the party president of the Singmari-Tukvar area, for indulging in “anti-party” activities.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the GNLF Darjeeling Branch Committee. The committee was specific about its charges and said Bimal was expelled for “opposing the Sixth Schedule status for the hills and for his speeches against Subash Ghisingh, the party president”.
For the past few days, especially after the Union cabinet approved the Sixth Schedule status for the Darjeeling hills, Bimal had been stoking the Gorkhaland fire. His decision to fight the new status tooth and nail — and announce that the hills should accept nothing less than Gorkhaland—had not gone down well with Ghisingh.
“The decision to expel Bimal Gurung from the branch committee was taken after taking note of the speeches delivered by him from September 10 onwards,” said Deepak Gurung, the president of the committee. Since the GNLF does not have any primary membership, expulsion from the branch committee is equivalent to being expelled from the party.
Bimal, however, said he did not want to be associated with a pan shop. “I welcome the decision. I have been expelled from a political party, which is like a pan shop found in every nook and corner. I want identity for the hill people and will try to get it.”
The rebel leader had offered his resignation almost eight months ago after apparently “getting disillusioned with the way the party was functioning”, but Ghisingh had refused to accept it.
Contrary to norms no showcause notice had preceded the expulsion. However, the committee will send its resolution on the expulsion to Ghisingh tomorrow.
Deepak was cautious when he reacted to questions on Bimal’s demand for Gorkhaland. He stuck to what Ghisingh said on October 2 in Siliguri: “Everyone has the right to raise the issue.”
The fact that the rebel leader holds sway over other areas too, other than Singmari-Tukvar, became clear when posters representing Ward No 25, and in Bimal’s support, appeared in town.
Deepak said the decision on whether any action will be initiated against Dinesh Gurung, the commissioner of the ward, will be taken by the GNLF Sadar I unit in a few days.
The GNLF has decided to organise public meetings across the hills to campaign for the merits of Sixth Schedule status. “The party’s Sadar I unit held a meeting today and another will be held in Pokhriabong on Saturday. The committee will also hold a grand meeting in Darjeeling at the earliest,” said Deepak.