West Bengal

Tamang’s new role

Print edition : November 01, 2013

JAILED Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binay Tamang has been elected the new chief executive of the recently formed Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) Sabha, the elected autonomous administrative body that governs the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal. The chair of the chief executive had fallen vacant when GJM supremo Bimal Gurung resigned on July 30 and gave a call for a fresh agitation for a separate Gorkhaland.

Tamang, who was arrested on August 22 for his alleged role in a clash with the police two years ago, is assistant secretary of the GJM and was in charge of the information department in the GTA. Known to be a close aide of Bimal Gurung, Tamang was elected unanimously by the attending 34 members of the 45-member body on September 27. Most of those absent were in jail.

Political sources in the hills attributed the GJM’s continuance in the GTA to the pressure it faced from the State government. With the GJM dragging its feet on the election, the government indicated that it would explore the option of selecting Gurung’s replacement, if necessary, to enable the GTA to function effectively.

“It is a compromise no doubt, but there is no alternative. For the time being it is important for the GJM to continue with the GTA to keep the agitation for Gorkhaland alive,” said a political source in the hills. The growing strength of the Trinamool Congress in the hills, particularly in the Kalimpong and Kurseong subdivisions has put more pressure on the GJM. What may well be a source of worry for the party are the recent instances of GJM workers joining the Trinamool Congress.

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay

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