Mamata likely to meet GJM faction leader Tamang next week

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Kolkata, Nov 1 (PTI) Amid growing discontent in the GJM faction led by Binoy Tamang, after his bete noire Bimal Gurung resurfaced and pledged support to the TMC, sources in Bengal's ruling party said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has invited the splinter group leader for a meeting next week.

Tamang, along with Gorkha Territorial Administration chairman Anit Thapa, are scheduled to meet Banerjee at the secretariat to discuss matters of concern, the sources said.

Making a dramatic appearance in Kolkata on October 21, Gurung quit the BJP-led NDA and aligned with TMC, underscoring that the saffron party has 'failed to find a permanent solution' for the Hills -- which had witnessed major unrest over demand for a separate state in 2017.

The ruling party in the state welcomed Gurung -- charged with over 100 cases during Darjeeling agitation over demand for a separate state in 2017 -- drawing the ire of Tamang-led faction, which had always backed the TMC.

Subsequently, supporters of Tamang took out rallies in the Hills opposing Gurung's return 'Yes, a meeting has been called by the CM at the state secretariat sometime in the coming week, where Tamang and Thapa would be present. We are sure everyone will back the CM's initiative to develop and beautify the Darjeeling hills, in the interest of its people,' a TMC leader said.

The Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), currently enjoying political control over Darjeeling, has vowed not to allow Gurung to enter the Hills.

'The people of the Hills don't want him to return as it would mean days of strike and violence. They want peace,' Thapa, who is also a senior GJM leader of the Tamang faction, had said earlier.

According to sources, Gurung, who had been in hiding for three years, is now watching the situation closely and is expecting the state government to drop charges of murder and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against him. PTI SUS PNT RMS RMS