'TMC getting support of Bimal Gurung suicidal politics'

TMC getting support of GJM's Bimal Gurung 'suicidal politics', claims Adhir Chowdhury

Gurung, who had been in hiding for three years, resurfaced in Kolkata on October 21 and pledged support to the TMC, after having quit the NDA

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Credit: PTI Photo

Senior Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury on Sunday alleged that the Trinamool Congress has chosen "suicidal politics" by securing the support of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung, and wondered if she would have a poll understanding with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim or terrorist outfit Al Qaida to garner votes.

Chowdhury, the Congress' West Bengal president, expressed dismay over Gurung allegedly getting police escort during his road journey from near Malda to Siliguri for attending a rally there on Sunday, and said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is "jettisoning the interest" of the country for getting votes.

Gurung, who was going to Siliguri by train, left it and went there by road as an Adivasi organisation put up a rail blockade to press for their demands.

The West Bengal government has slapped around 100 cases including those under the UAPA against Gurung for alleged acts of arson and attacks on policemen in Darjeeling hills during the GJM's movement for separate Gorkhaland state in the past few years.

"Will you (Banerjee) have an electoral understanding with Dawood Ibrahim or Al Qaida for winning polls?" Chowdhury asked and said that the TMC could have waited till Gurung is freed of the charges.

The senior Congress leader, who had earlier hit out at the Mamata Banerjee-led party for allegedly forging an alliance with "secessionist forces", asked her not to go for suicidal politics just to secure your win in three seats in the (Darjeeling) hills and 15 seats in Dooars as suggested by your strategist PK (Prasant Kishore)".

Kishor was hired by the TMC for looking after the party's campaign strategy for the 2021 assembly election.

Chowdhury said, "Have you (Banerjee) forgotten the death of police officer Amitava Malik? Your police had held Gurung responsible for the young officers death. Have you forgotten that it was your administration which had slapped so many cases against Gurung?"

Malik, a sub-inspector, was killed when a group of alleged GJM activists fired at a police team in a forest near Darjeeling in October 2017. The police were on the trail of Gurung who was suspected to be hiding there.

By aligning with Gurung, the chief minister is giving a wrong signal to the family of the deceased and the people of the state, Chowdhury told reporters.

Gurung, who had been in hiding for three years, resurfaced in Kolkata on October 21 and pledged support to the TMC, after having quit the NDA, claiming that the BJP has "failed to find a permanent solution" for the Hills which had witnessed major unrest over demand for a separate state.

Darjeeling hills had repeatedly witnessed violent agitation over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. In 2017, the hills saw a 104-day-long strike called by Gurung over the issue.

The strike also led to a split in the GJM, with Binoy Tamang, once a deputy to the outfit's supremo Gurung, taking over the reins of the party and expelling the boss.

Although the GJM faction led by Gurung had continued to align with the BJP, the other camp, headed by Tamang, joined hands with the ruling TMC in the state.

Chowdhury alleged that the TMC was trying to frame him in graft cases but dared to substantiate the charges.

"I am here in politics with a mission, with a principle not for personal gains. Everyone knows that several TMC leaders had been arrested by the CBI in chit fund scam cases. But none will be able to point finger at the Congress, at Adhir Chowdhury," he claimed.