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Bimal Gurung

Bimal Gurung
Bimal Gurung, founder president of  Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) and the chief executive of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
He founded  Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on 7th of October 2007 with the sole objective to attain a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and also the Terai region in the plains of Darjeeling district and Dooars region in Jalpaguri district of West Bengal.
The demand for a separate administrative-unit had been raised by the hill people as early as in 1901 and was renewed on various occasions; including a bloody 28-month long agitation in 1986 – an agitation in which Bimal Gurung had participated as a foot soldier, most of the hill leaders remained silent on the people’s aspiration after occupying some power in the Hills.

Bimal Gurung was born on 17th July 1964 into a family of tea garden workers. Bimal Gurung’s mother Late Chandramaya Gurung and father Late Bharat Gurung faced many financial constraints which forced Bimal Gurung to cut short his academic pursuit and spent his adolescent years doing odd jobs to support his family.

Bimal Gurung's life took a dramatic turn when Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) launched an armed struggle for a Gorkha homeland in 1986. He immediately joined the Gorkha Volunteers' Cell (GVC), the youth wing of the GNLF and fought against the state government as a true solider espousing the cause of Gorkhaland.
A disillusioned Bimal Gurung left GVC soon after the GNLF signed the 1988 Darjeeling Accord with the Centre and the West Bengal government that led to the formation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

Bimal Gurung once again came into public focus in 1992 when he floated an organization for unemployed youths from the Hills that focused on giving direction to a rudderless generation.

In 1999 Bimal Gurung won the DGHC bypoll elections from Tukvar constituency as an independent candidate. Given his popularity in the area, the GNLF immediately invited him to join the party and was entrusted with the responsibilities of the DGHC sports and youth affairs department.

During his tenure as the councilor of the DGHC he brought about a revolution in sports and youth affairs in the Hills. He also managed to cleanse his constituency of drug peddlers and put a stop to alcoholism in the area.

In 7th October, 2007 Bimal Gurung floated the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha to fight against the dictatorial rule of Subash Ghising. Bimal Gurung decided to open this party when he saw the people's opposition to Ghisingh's proposal to include the Darjeeling Hills within the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. People opposed the Sixth Schedule as it was bound to create division in the various communities in the
hills.
Following Gurung’s movement, Subash Ghisingh had no option but to leave the Darjeeling Hills given the widespread anger and resentment against his rule.

Bimal Gurung also received tremendous support from the pro-Gorkhaland supporters from the Terai and Dooars, territories which had been left out of the DGHC’s purview by Subash Ghising even though the people of the plains had supported him during his agitation in the mid-1980s.

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA)


The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha too has agreed on the Centre’s proposal to set up an autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, which was formed in August 2012, but Bimal Gurung has clearly told the Centre and the state government that he would not be dropping the demand of Gorkhaland unlike settlements made by previous leaders from the Hills. This point finds a clear mention in the GTA Memorandum of Agreement that was signed by the Centre, State and the GJM on 18 July 2011.

GTA was a necessity to empower the hill youth, create job opportunities and develop infrastructure in the region so that the proposed Gorkhaland territory does not turn into a backward tract that would destroy a generation in this period of strife and agitation.

While the GTA is preparing the region for statehood in terms of infrastructure development, Bimal Gurung is applying relentless political pressure on the Centre and the state government to create a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Gorkhaland on Record

In the official record of the agreement signed between the Gorkha Janmukti, Centre and the State government, it is clearly stated : “Now, therefore, the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the GJM, keeping on record the demand of the GJM for a separate State of Gorkhaland, agree as follows:-
1)     An autonomous Body, which shall be called the GorkhalandTerritorial Administration (GTA), will be formed through direct election. A Bill for this purpose will be introduced in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly;

The West Bengal government issued a gazette notification for the GTA Act on 14 March 2012, signaling preparations for elections for the GTA.  In the elections of the GTA held on 29 July 2012, GJM candidates won from all seats and today Bimal Gurung is the Chief Executive of GTA.

Bimal Gurung is still fighting for a separate state for Gorkhaland because he takes GTA not as a compromise on its demand for a separate State but, in fact, a step in the direction for Gorkhaland.

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