Less than six weeks after his return, Gorkha National Liberation Front president Subhas Ghising left Darjeeling on Monday evening in the face of what he called “continuous threats” from the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM). Mr. Ghising arrived in the hill town on April 8, having virtually been forced to leave the hills after attacks on his supporters by GJM activists for more than two-and-a-half years ago. On Tuesday, he said in Siliguri that he had decided to leave Darjeeling again because of “constant threats”.
The GJM denied that Mr. Ghising was under any pressure from the party to leave the hills. But it claimed that his presence in the region was inciting passions among rival supporters.
“Some remarks he made at a rally at Mirik [on April 9] were not taken well by the people, who saw in them an attempt to incite his followers to violence,” Harka Bahadur Chettri, a senior member of the GJM's central committee, toldThe Hinduon the phone from Darjeeling district.
GJM supporter attacked
A GJM supporter was severely injured after being allegedly attacked by GNLF activists at Sonada late on Sunday.
GJM president Bimal Gurung had said at a rally at Mirik on April 10 that Mr. Ghising's “visa” would expire shortly after the Assembly polls (held on April 18).
Mr. Ghising's departure was as subdued as his arrival. It came after the severe drubbing of his party in all three seats it contested. Its candidates lost by huge margins to the GJM's putting paid to Mr. Ghising's hopes for a political comeback in a region where his supremacy was unassailable for more than two decades till the GJM was formed in October 2007.
“He had high hopes of achieving political success, but might have realised the futility of staying on in the hills after the voters, through their verdict, rejected him,” said Dr. Chettri, who won from Kalimpong.
“Mr. Ghising left Darjeeling around 9.30 p.m. on Monday, and, as a person who enjoys the ‘Z' category security, [he] was provided with the required police escort,” Superintendent of Police D.P. Singh said on the phone from Darjeeling district on Tuesday.