The rise of 'Captain'
Calcutta, Aug. 25: Fondly called "Captain" among his colleagues, Binay Tamang has risen through the ranks to emerge a key figure of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the current phase of the agitation at a time Bimal Gurung has been forced to stay away from the public.
Tamang's rise from being one of the two assistant secretaries of the Morcha to the chief coordinator of the party seems to have been acknowledged by even the state government, which has addressed its letter for the August 29 meeting to him.
Tamang, aged above 50, started his political career as a Gorkha National Liberation Front worker and used to run an educational institute at Dali, 6km from Darjeeling.
During the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council elections in 1999, he, however, contested against the GNLF's official candidate, A.B. Thapa, as an Independent, but lost.
In the past, Tamang had indulged in philanthropy in his area, Bloomfield-Rishihat.
But he shot to limelight during a campaign for Indian Idol participant Prashant Tamang in 2007. Binay Tamang worked closely with Gurung and played a pivotal role in helping Prashant win the contest.
Less than a month after the competition ended, Gurung broke away from the GNLF to form the Morcha on October 7, 2007.
Tamang was made the assistant secretary of the Morcha, which was slightly down the line in terms of hierarchy. He, however, continued to be in Gurung's core group which included Roshan Giri and Anit Thapa, a central committee member from Kurseong.
The Morcha chief coordinator is known as an easily approachable leader with good mass contacts and management skills.
Tamang has also been the Morcha's chief trouble-shooter and has played a key role in building the party's support base. He has been part of most of the important delegations to Delhi and Calcutta.
When the GTA was formed in 2012, Tamang won uncontested from Bloomfield-Rishihat and was an executive GTA Sabha member in charge of the information and cultural affairs department.
Given the key roles played by Tamang, his nomination as the chief coordinator to look into the party's affairs in the current situation has not come as a major surprise.