Suspense has lifted from the most anticipated development of hill politics in recent times with the announcement that Bimal Gurung would reach Darjeeling next Sunday.
Gurung reached Siliguri on December 6 but hasn’t gone to the hills.
Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha’s Gurung camp, told The Telegraph: “Bimal Gurung will reach Darjeeling on December 20 and we will hold a public meeting at the town’s motor stand.”
The last public appearance of Gurung in Darjeeling was during the Independence Day celebrations of 2017. It was held at Ging tea estate on the outskirts of the hill town.
Giri did address a public meeting on November 30 at Kurseong. But Gurung’s presence in the hills is expected to create a different impact.
Observers believe Gurung’s arrival in the hills after over three-and-a-half-years is enough to draw crowds throughout his Siliguri-Darjeeling route and to the public meeting.
It is not clear whether Gurung would change his base from Siliguri to Darjeeling after the public meeting.
Leaders of the Gurung faction’s youth front on Saturday lambasted the BJP and the party’s Darjeeling MLA Neeraj Zimba for allegedly doing nothing to arrive at a permanent political solution for the hills. “We severed ties with BJP because of the doublespeak. We supported the party but for 11 years, it did nothing to address our principal demand. The MLA of Darjeeling is the most inactive public representative we have seen so far...,” said Prakash Gurung, youth front leader, in Siliguri.
Ahead of going to Darjeeling, Gurung will be in Birpara of Alipurduar district on Sunday (December 13) to address a public meeting. On the same day, the rival faction of Morcha headed by Binay Tamang will organise a meeting at Sukna, around 10km from Siliguri.
“The race to prove the support of the majority of the Gorkhas in the hills and plains before Trinamul leadership is truly on,” said an observer.