The three-storey market town in the Chowkbazar area in the heart of Darjeeling is known as the stage for any gathering. Even a few days ago, Bimal Gurung’s biggest supporter trembled to pronounce Gurung's name on the hill. On Saturday (October 24), supporters chanted "Bimal" and raised flags with his picture in the heart of the city. Advance announcement of Bimal Gurung’s return to the hill was made. After spending almost 3 years in hibernation, Bimal Gurung said that he would stay in Kolkata and return to the mountains quickly.

Gurung reportedly disappeared from the scene after Amitabha Malik, the young police sub-inspector had fallen prey to bullets on 13 October 2017 while carrying out a raid in the secret hideout of GJM activists. The surfacing of Gurung could not but remind anyone of the raw memories of Malik’s funeral procession in which his newly-wed wife, family members, neighbors and thousands of unknown mourners were seen to have taken part.

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The youth wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) staged a big procession in the town of Sonada on Sunday (October 25) morning after hoisting the flag which has Gurung’s picture in it. Those who were in the lead of the procession were all known to be followers of Binoy Tamang. However, Bimal's name was not mentioned in the procession. 

Neither Binoy nor any of the front-line leaders of his camp were present in the procession. But the number of participants in the procession and the slogan make it clear that the procession is to prove themselves as the 'main force' in the mountains. Binoy or Anit Thapa have not opened their mouths since Gurung came out in public. 

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Gurung was in hibernation since 2016. But even in his long absence, his popularity has not waned, as evidenced by the results of the last Lok Sabha election and the Darjeeling Assembly by-election. In both cases, the Trinamool and the anti-Bimal Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alliance lost to the BJP candidates. People in the hills know that Gurung's supporters were behind the BJP even though they were not physically present. The sympathy of the people of the hills was towards Bimal Gurung for 'returning' to 'fight' for Gorkhaland.

Bimal Gurung has come out in public and changed his political position. Earlier, Gurung declared jihad against Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee. He walked the path of de facto armed movement in the hills. 

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Bimal Gurung now makes his appearance as a new avatar. At one level, he formally severed his and GJM’s connection from the BJP-led NDA. One cannot forget Bimal is the architect of BJP’s victory in the hills in 2009, 2014 and even in 2019, the last with his omnipresent ‘absence’. At another level, he was all praise for Mamata Banerjee for having honored her commitments in the past so much so that not a single commitment today remains unfulfilled. According to reports, Bimal Gurung joined hands with the Trinamool party.

However, Gurung's relatives are welcoming his decision. Leaders of the All India Gurkha League or CPRM, known as the 'small partner' in hill politics, have not yet opened their mouth regarding this incident. A CPRM leader said, "Even if Gurung returns to the hills, there are doubts about how long he will be able to stay."