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Poll dare to Tamang from rival camp

Prove support, Gurung aide tells Binay

Binay Tamang

Kalimpong: Two days ahead of the planned show of strength by the Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Darjeeling on Sunday, a pro-Bimal Gurung youth leader of Kalimpong has dared Tamang to prove that he enjoys the support of the people by contesting the Lok Sabha election next year.

Breaking the long silence of the pro-Gurung group in Kalimpong, Biren Bhujel of the Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing, accused Tamang of betraying the sacrifices of lakhs of Gorkhaland supporters by doing the bidding of the state government and settling for, what he derisively called, "GTA II". "We will not accept the claims of some people, who have been nominated to keep a watch (over GTA) for a few days, to be the leader of the people... We openly challenge Binay Tamang to contest 2019 Lok Sabha election (to prove he enjoys the support of the people)," he said in a release issued late Friday night.

Biren is the younger brother of Barun Bhujel, the former Kalimpong municipality councillor loyal to Gurung, who had died in a Calcutta hospital on October 25. He had been arrested at the start of last year's Gorkhaland agitation for his alleged involvement of arson and violence.

Biren's dare comes two days before the Tamang faction of the Yuva Morcha is slated to hold a public meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday to demonstrate its support among the people. The youth wing had announced its "show of strength" few days after the GNLF had organised an impressive public meeting in Darjeeling on January 28.

A pro-Gurung voice is being heard in Kalimpong after a long lull. Most senior Morcha leaders, including vice-president Kalyan Gurung and Kalimpong branch president R. B Bhujel, have preferred to lie low even as the Binay faction has been making all the noises. In fact, the Binay group occupies the party office located in the heart of the town.

"The agitation which started from the language protest witnessed bandh for 105 days, 29 days of hunger strike, 16 persons martyred, but all these came to naught because of Binay Tamang's selfish strategy," Biren alleged.

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