GJM (Bimal) councillors call for ouster of chairperson
Darjeeling: It was high voltage politics in Darjeeling on Wednesday surrounding the Darjeeling Municipality. A group of councillors who switched over to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal faction), tried to stage a political coup to oust the chairperson who owed allegiance to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay faction). B P Bajgain, the GJM (Bimal) Spokesperson, was picked up from the gates of the Municipality by the police amidst heavy protests from Bimal's supporters.
Councillors owing allegiance to Binay Tamang stated that some signatures were faked and some were made to sign under duress. They have lodged an FIR and demanded that Bajgain be arrested.
On the heels of the BJP-GNLF-GJM (Bimal) winning the Lok Sabha elections in Darjeeling and the Darjeeling Assembly by-polls, a group of councillors led by Noman Rai of Ward 6 marched to the Darjeeling Municipality, accompanied by GJM leaders from the Bimal faction.
There they submitted a memorandum to chairperson Prativa Rai Tamang, asking her to call a special meeting under section 18 (3) of the Bengal Municipal Act, 1983, for the removal of chairperson of the Darjeeling Municipality from her office. The memorandum was signed by 18 councillors.
"We are supporters of Bimal Gurung and the GJM. We had all won on GJM tickets. Later when the political environment demanded we had supported Binay Tamang. Now after the public mandate to Bimal Gurung we chose to go with the public and revert," stated Noman Rai. Meanwhile, Bajgain demanded the dissolution of the GTA. "People do not want the GTA. It is not the aspiration of the Hills. It should immediately be dissolved," stated Bajgain. Following this, a police vehicle whisked Bajgain from the gates as the group was leaving the building.
Immediately, the GJM (Bimal) and GNLF supporters surrounded the vehicle, not allowing him to be taken away. They started chanting slogans and some supporters, especially ladies, also squatted on the road. A huge traffic jam ensued. As the situation got tense, top brass of the police arrived along with additional forces. They somehow managed to clear the road and Bajgain was taken to Darjeeling police station, where he has been detained as per the latest report. Soon after this, Sagar Tamang, vice-chairman, Darjeeling Municipality, stated: "We matched the signatures. Many looked false. Many councillors were made to sign under duress as well. One ailing councillor was even made to sign on a blank paper."