Gorkhaland brings hill trio to Delhi convention
Three prominent hill politicians — Ajoy Edwards, Bimal Gurung and Binay Tamang — met in Delhi on Saturday, indicating a new political alignment in the hills before the poll season.
Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha started a two-day convention in Delhi on Saturday on Gorkhaland to form a “national committee” on the statehood demand.
Gorkha representatives from other states, along with Edwards and Tamang, attended the convention.
The three hill leaders stated that the demand for Gorkhaland had brought them together. Critics, however, said the present political equation in the hills forced them to turn towards each other.
Edwards’s Hamro Party is hard-pressed to save its board in the Darjeeling municipality after five of its councillors recently joined Anit Thapa’s Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM), which also won the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections earlier this year.
Gurung, whose party is officially allied to Trinamul, seems to be charting an independent course currently as Bengal’s ruling party appears closer to Thapa’s BGPM.
Tamang, who recently joined Trinamul, does not have much of a voice in the party. Although Trinamul has firmly asserted it does not want any further division of Bengal, Tamang said the convention was related to a community issue, not political, and so he was attending it in his “personal capacity”.
Neeraj Zimba, the Darjeeling BJP MLA and GNLF secretary-general, said its hill alliance would not attend the convention.
On the trio, Zimba said: “They are together as they are losing power and are not getting sympathy from the state government.”
TMC eye on funds
Trinamul has launched an initiative to check utilisation of funds given to development boards, councils, and language academies formed by the Mamata Banerjee government and assess the performance of its elected representatives in north Bengal. The dual approach, sources said, is aimed at sending a message to voters that Trinamul is in no mood to tolerate corruption and incompetence. “The initiatives are the brainchild of the party’s all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee,” said a source.