The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung faction) has accused long-time ally BJP of deviating from “coalition dharma” by trying to eat into the party’s base in the hills.
On Friday, general secretary of the Morcha (Gurung faction) Roshan Giri posted a news release on social media, saying the BJP had taken up a membership drive across the hills and foothills, which the Morcha considers its traditional base.
“The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the BJP has a decade-old coalition and the Morcha has always upheld its coalition ‘dharma.’ It is a known truth that from 2009 to 2019, the Morcha has helped the BJP candidates to win but today, our feeling is that certain BJP leaders are not taking this coalition seriously,” says the release issued by Giri.
Roshan Giri File picture
Back in 2009, the Morcha joined hands with the BJP, which helped the BJP secure the Darjeeling consecutively in three Lok Sabha elections.
The release mentioned Jaswant Singh and S.S. Ahluwalia, who won the seat in 2009 and 2014. “These two leaders never tried to extend their support base in the hills because at that time we were in control of the hills, Terai and adjoining areas and our leaders were also on ground. But today, as our leaders are forced to live a life in exile, it seems that the BJP is taking advantage of this situation, or for any other reason has started a membership drive in these areas. Our present MP (Raju Bista) is very enthusiastically involved in this drive.”
The Morcha (Gurung faction) added that the MP should meet the demands of the hill people, which include Scheduled Tribe status to 11 hill communities, and come up with a permanent political solution for the hills.
Such assertions from the Bimal Gurung faction — the other faction led by Binay Tamang allies with Trinamul — has triggered speculation on what lies ahead.
“It’s evident they want the BJP to abandon the membership drive. As most leaders of the faction are not public for over three years now, there is a chance that some of their supporters may join the BJP,” said a political watcher.
MP Bista said the Morcha (Gurung faction) could always voice its concerns in public. He said his party’s membership drive in Bengal was not limited to the hills, Terai and the Dooars. “Ours is a democratic alliance, and every partner has equal say...” Bista said.
“As a party worker, I have my set of duties and responsibilities to fulfil. Our alliance partners are well aware of these facts, and they have every right to put forward their concerns,” Bista said.