It’s been two weeks since Binay Tamang resigned from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha faction he had formed in and headed since 2017. He announced his decision in a media conference in Darjeeling, stating that he is taking moral responsibility for the two defeats in the recently held elections.
Speculation was rife that Tamang might go back to Bimal Gurung whom he left in 2017 after the latter left the hills. But a Facebook post he wrote on Thursday has one again sparked speculations on his next move. “My hunger and thirst are for my community and its existence,” he wrote.
Politics in the North Bengal hills is all about the identity of Gorkhas. From Subhash Ghishing to Binay Tamang, all became popular there after projecting their fight for rights of the Gorkha people. When the movement started in Darjeeling in 2017, it was also on Gorkha rights as the Bengal government came up with an idea to make Bengali a compulsory language.
The fierce movement started when Bimal Gurung left the Hills. Binay worked on development model but his Opposition campaigned that he was no more in sync with the community. Although Binay tried in every way, the notion that he is drifting from the fight of the community remained. Bimal, too, returned to the Hills before the election and tried to gain confidence of the Gorkha people. But in the assembly elections, two out of three seats of uphills were won by the BJP.
It became clear that the Binay-Bimal division helped the saffron party make inroads in the area. The North Bengal hills are known to not support any mainland party without the Gorkha communities’ nod. But this time, out of the three uphill seats in Darjeeling BJP backed two, and Binay, who supported an independent candidate, got one.
Neeraj Zimba, who won with a BJP ticket from Darjeeling, was with Gorkha National Liberation Front’s (GNLF) but this result clearly reflected that the clash between ‘bhumiputra’ is giving advantage to the third mainland party.
Whether Binay’s resignation is an attempt to go back to identity politics with Bimal Gurung or if he will now do something of his own only time will tell. But political experts are of the opinion that Binay would now attempt to win back the confidence of the Gorkha people.
When Binay was asked this question after his latest Facebook post, he said he believes it’s too early to guess what he will do in the future.