Darjeeling: The central committee of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) on Monday suspended fugitive party chief Bimal Gurung for six months and elected GJM chief coordinator Binay Tamang as the new president, a source close to the party said.
The decision was taken in the party's central committee meeting held in Darjeeling district's Ghum in the northern West Bengal hills.
Apart from Gurung, who has been absconding for nearly six months since a look-out notice was issued against him by the West Bengal Police, the committee also suspended 13 other GJM leaders, including party's general secretary Roshan Giri, Gurung's wife and GJM women wing president Asha Gurung and woman leader Saroj Thapa, from the party.
The GJM central committee accused Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri of not being at the forefront of the ongoing Gorkhaland movement for the last six months and claimed that the party constitution did not approve of such inactivity.
GJM leader from Kurseong Anit Thapa had been elected as the new general secretary of the party, the source said.
Tamang and Thapa, who were earlier expelled from the party by then-GJM chief Gurung for calling off the indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills, have emerged as the prominent party faces in taking the Gorkhaland movement forward and negotiating with the West Bengal government in recent times.
GJM's general secretary Roshan Giri, who was suspended on Monday by the party's central leadership, claimed: "Suspension is illegal. They do not have any right. Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa have been already expelled from the party."
State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also created the Board of Administrators in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), making Tamang its Chairman and Thapa its Vice-Chairman to resolve the discord in the Darjeeling hills.
Both leaders have also headed party delegations to a number of bipartite talks between the hill parties and the Bengal government and are scheduled to do the same in the next round of talks on 21 November in Siliguri.
The central committee also announced the next meeting of the party to be held in the second week of December to elect leaders for various posts in the GJM that are vacant now.
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2017 09:15:48 IST