Meghalaya chief minister and National People’s Party president Conrad K. Sangma announced the formation of the NPP’s north Bengal unit on Sunday to espouse the cause of the “marginalised and the unheard” and meet “regional aspirations”.
Within hours, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang held a press conference and alleged that the NPP was making a foray into north Bengal as a “Bteam” of a “national party” which wanted to hide its failure to meet regional aspirations.
Although he didn’t mention the name of the “national party”, the reference was to the BJP which is in alliance with the NPP in Northeast.
A video accompanied by a Nepali tune was released to announce the NPP’s new unit. In the video, Sangma promised to champion and raise the voice of the “marginalised and the unheard”. He also said: “NPP will work with team north Bengal to ensure that a platform is provided to represent your regional aspirations and interests.”
At the hurriedly convened news conference at his residence in Dali late in the evening, Tamang said the NPP was eyeing the votes of “Gorkhas, adivasis, Rajbangshis and other minorities”.
He generally addresses the media in the Morcha’s central office in Darjeeling unless the subject is of utmost importance. Tamang’s promptness has surprised political observers.
The Morcha leader said he had information that the NPP was stepping into north Bengal “after receiving blessings from a national party”.
Asked about the “national party”, Tamang was more forthcoming. “According to our information, the party at the Centre is blessing the NPP,” said Tamang.
The Morcha leader even accused the Meghalaya chief minister of trying to “disrupt” peace in north Bengal and said the NPP’s presence was to hide the BJP’s alleged failure to address regional aspirations.
“They (BJP) got an MP (from Darjeeling) in 2009, 2014 and 2019 but they have not been able to fulfil regional aspirations. They (BJP) are in a crisis and are not in a position to face the public and that is why instead of A team, they are fielding their Bteam. This is the play according to our understanding,” said Tamang.
That Tamang was taking the NPP’s new unit seriously could be gauged from the fact that he also declared the intention to expand the Morcha in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
“I will visit Northeast as soon as possible,” said Tamang.