22 June, 2021

The Man Who Came In From The Cold

Fugitive Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung resurfaces, stirs Bengal hill politics

The Coat Turns—Bimal Gurung ‘quit’ the BJP, ‘joined’ the Trinamool
Photograph by PTI
The Man Who Came In From The Cold

Bimal Gurung reappeared as mysteriously, and dramatically, as he had vanished from public view three years ago. Even more dramatic was his announcement last week on severing ties with the BJP, a party his faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) helped establish base in the Darjeeling hills. But that is only half of the unfolding story—Gurung’s perceived surrender to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has, by all likelihood, deepened the political complexities in Darjeeling, where the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, comprising parts of northern Bengal’s plains, has been the dominant theme for decades, especially since the mid-1980s.

Gurung, 56, who ruled the hills between 2007 and 2017, was instrumental in helping the BJP win the Darjeeling Lok Sabha three times on the trot since 2009. While snapping ties with the BJP on October 21, Gurung accused the BJP of breach of promise and doing nothing for Darjeeling.

The GJM leader had remained a fugitive since June 2017, when the state police filed dozens of cases against him, mostly...

More from Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

Latest Magazine

June 28, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section