Giri to address Kurseong rally
Roshan Giri, general secretary and the second-in-command of the Bimal Gurung faction of the Morcha, reached Siliguri on Saturday.
The return of Giri, who has been on the run for over three years, signalled that Gurung is also about to return and resume his political activities.
On Sunday, Giri will address a public meeting at the local motor stand in Kurseong, the first public meeting of the Gurung faction since 2017.
“We have got permission to hold a public meeting at Baghajatin Park in Siliguri on December 6 where Bimalji will be present. But if we perceive that the turnout of our supporters will be high, the venue can be shifted to some other larger area,” Giri told reporters at the airport.
Binita Roka, a spokesperson of the Gurung camp, said, “Our party president (Gurung) will start from Calcutta on December 5 to reach Siliguri early next morning to address a public meeting there.”
She also said that it is unlikely that Giri, who will ascend to Kurseong on Sunday, and Gurung, will head for Darjeeling immediately.
There were indications that Gurung would first visit Dooars and Terai and only then come to Darjeeling.
At the airport, hundreds of Morcha supporters of the Gurung faction had assembled since afternoon.
As Giri came out of the terminal building, the elated supporters greeted him and shouted slogans.
Giri, when asked about their decision to sever ties with the BJP, was critical of the party.
“We did everything for the BJP during the previous elections. We had trusted them. But despite repeated assurances from leaders like Modiji (Narendra Modi) and Amit Shah on issues like permanent political solution for the hills and conferment of Scheduled Tribes status to 11 hill communities, the BJP did nothing and virtually cheated the hill residents. This is why we decided to join hands with the Trinamul and support Mamata Banerjee in the ensuing Assembly polls,” the Morcha leader said.
His arrival in the region and the proclamation by the party that Gurung will be back in the region soon, has led to repercussions among other political parties of the hills, including the Binay Tamang faction of Morcha.
Anit Thapa, general secretary of the Tamang faction, who is also the chairman of the board of administrators of the GTA, appealed for peace.
“For three years, we have maintained peace across the hills. I would appeal to the public of Kurseong not to fear. Kurseong was peaceful even during the agitation days. I also appeal to those coming to attend the meeting (of Giri) not to come with the intention to destabilise peace in Kurseong,” said Thapa.
In democracy, all political parties have the right to hold public meetings, he said.