Bimal Gurung vs Binay Tamang: can Mamata Banerjee work out a winning formula?

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang said that his rival Bimal Gurung is not a threat for him, and he won’t figure in the talks with chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday. On the contrary, Tamang could be a threat to Gurung and Roshan Giri, he said.

Gurung, the GJM founder who had gone into hiding for over three years, had dramatically appeared in Kolkata on October 21. At a press conference he said he had severed ties with the BJP and wanted to see Mamata Banerjee as chief minister of West Bengal for the third time. This has huge ramifications in the politics of the Hills ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections in Bengal, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been winning in the Hills with the backing of Gurung since 2009, who has huge support in the region.

Tamang along with Anit Thapa will call on Banerjee at Nabanna on Tuesday. They have severed ties with Gurung in 2017.  Tamang said that no one is above the law and called Gurung a “fugitive leader”. He also clarified that he would not share the same platform with Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri. He said that the meeting with Banerjee on Tuesday would focus on the development of the hills and about peace in the region.

Following Gurung’s dramatic appearance in Kolkata, there were several demonstrations and protests in the hills organised by Tamang’s faction against Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri. However, even Gurung’s supporters have taken out rallies in order to assert their presence and support in the region. While the Gurung lobby is preparing the ground for their leader who has been away from the hills for over three years, the Tamang faction on the other hand, is trying to retain its support base.

For the past three years, Trinamool Congress has allied with Binay Tamang, while Gurung’s supporters have been backing the BJP. But now with Gurung speaking in favour of Banerjee, there is a direct clash between the two factions of the GJM. The key job for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee now, is to balance these two factions and to work out a winning formula that goes in her favour.

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