Darjeeling no-trust move
Leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Bimal Gurung faction on Wednesday submitted a letter containing purported signatures of 17 councillors for a no-confidence motion against Prativa Rai Tamang, the Darjeeling municipality chairperson aligned to the Morcha’s Binay Tamang camp.
Noman Rai, a councillor from the Bimal group, linked the move to the Darjeeling
Lok Sabha and Assembly byelections that were won by the BJP. Tamang lost the bypoll.
The majority mark is 16 in the 32-member municipality whose effective strength is now 30.
The Tamang camp, however, claimed “four-to-five” of the councillors whose purported signatures were on the no-trust letter were forged and alleged that some of the civic members had been made to sign on blank papers.
Sagar Tamang, vice-chairman of the municipality and a Binay Tamang loyalist, said the signature of one of the councillors, Lakpa Sherpa, was taken on a blank sheet on the pretext that it was needed to execute some schemes. Sherpa has filed an FIR alleging fraud.
There are 32 wards in the civic body, of which 31 were won by the Morcha and one by Trinamul in the 2017 polls. After the 2017 statehood agitation, one of the councillors, Ramjung Golay, resigned. Another member, Mani Pradhan, died.
“We have requested a special meeting to move a no-confidence motion against the chairperson. We have 18 councillors with us but one is out of station,” said Rai, councillor and working president of Morcha’s youth wing (Bimal camp) who led a delegation to the civic body to submit the letter.
Rai cited the recent poll results in which the winning Darjeeling BJP Lok Sabha candidate Raju Bista was supported by the GNLF, the Bimal camp and other hill parties. “The results show the current leadership does not have any mandate,” said Rai.
But Sagar, the vice-chairman, claimed they still had the support of most councillors and added that any floor test would be held in line with norms. “Our chairperson (Prativa) was assaulted and she is in hospital,” Sagar alleged.
Bimal loyalist held
B.P. Bajgain, spokesperson for the Bimal camp, was detained on Wednesday in connection with some old cases. Bajgain was part of the delegation that submitted the no-trust letter at the civic body.