KOLKATA: The BJP received a jolt in the Hills in West Bengal as Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung announced on Wednesday that he has decided to quit the NDA and ally with the ruling Trinamool Congress.
Accusing the BJP of not keeping its commitment on the Gorkhaland issue, Gurung said his party would support the TMC in full swing in the 2021 Assembly elections.
Gurung, however, did not clear GJM’s stand for the next Lok Sabha elections slated to be held in 2024. "We will support those who talk in favour of our Gorkhaland demand," he said.
Gurung, who has been on the run for the past three years, resurfaced in Kolkata on Wednesday and announced the change in the colour of politics in the Hills. GJM followers are in the majority in nine assembly seats and they can be a deciding factor in another 16 assembly seats. With the support of the Gurung faction of the GJM, the BJP bagged the Darjeeling seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Gurung made it clear that his party and followers would not retreat on the issue of statehood. "Neither the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister kept their commitment. But we found chief minister Mamata Banerjee kept her words. This is why I have decided to quit the NDA and support the TMC," he said.
Gurung’s change in political alignment might trigger a jolt to the saffron camp as the party had made an aggressive onslaught in the Hills and the areas located in its foothills.
BJP’s state president Dilip Ghosh said Gurung has cases, including sedition charges, pending against him. "BJP wants peace in the Hills. Gurung’s move appears to be another attempt to create unrest in the region," he said.