Soon, Gurung public meeting in Siliguri

Soon, Gurung public meeting in Siliguri

Bimal Gurung will reach the hills shortly and address a public meeting at Baghajatin Park — located in the heart of Siliguri — on his way to the hills, said Bishal Chhetri, a vice-president of the Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, on Wednesday.

Since 2007, when Gurung had floated the party, this will be the first time that the Morcha will hold a meeting at a location within Siliguri. So far, the Morcha held public meetings in places such as Sukna and Gandhi Maidan on the fringes of Siliguri.

“Our leader Bimal Gurung will soon reach north Bengal. Thousands of supporters across the region are eagerly waiting for his arrival. That is why we have decided to organise a grand welcome for him and on the same day, a public meeting will be held at Baghajatin Park here. People from the hills, Terai and the Dooars will be there at the event,” said Chhetri.

The decision, party insiders said, was made to pass a message to the Trinamul leadership with whom the Gurung faction joined hands, the rival Binay Tamang faction of Morcha and the BJP, the party with which Gurung recently severed ties.

“Leaders of the other faction (of the Morcha) often make tall claims about their support. We will prove our support base through the meeting and our leader (Gurung) will address the gathering. Our leaders are confident that the meeting will also give a fillip to Trinamul and will make BJP read the writing on the wall,” said an insider.

Gurung's decision to hold a rally in Siliguri is seen as an attempt to test the waters, said an observer. “The decision clearly indicates that they want to gauge the support base before Bimal Gurung goes up to the hills and simultaneously show their strength to the other faction and political parties, particularly Trinamul and BJP,” he said, adding the turnout at the meeting would help the Gurung faction draw up further plans.

Chhetri told newspersons that they would give their “all out support” their “beloved Mamata Didi” as they want to see her in the chief minister’s office after the 2021 Bengal elections.

He was also critical of the BJP and questioned the party’s sincerity in meeting the two key demands of the hill residents — separate statehood and Scheduled Tribe status to 11 hill communities.

“There hasn’t been an inch of progress in these demands. It seems the BJP leaders have forgotten what they had mentioned in their election manifesto. We want to make it clear that the BJP leaders should not have any major expectation from north Bengal. We are no longer with them and our absence will be reflected in the poll results,” said the Morcha leader.

Those in rival Tamang faction of the Morcha said they did not give any importance to the announcements.

“After Bimal Gurung resurfaced in Calcutta, there was spontaneous reaction among people across the hills, they came to the streets and demonstrated against him. We are not concerned about such meetings as people have summarily rejected him,” said a leader of the Tamang faction.

Bimal Gurung will reach the hills shortly and address a public meeting at Baghajatin Park — located in the heart of Siliguri — on his way to the hills

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