Political situation in Darjeeling
Is it safe to travel?

 
Follow the forum discussions and the updates to know about development of political scenario in Darjeeling district and also the current political status in the hills. This information is specifically meant for travelers so that they understand the present safety issues, if any, and make their travel plans to the hills accordingly. 
 
Ordered by older to newer posts 
 
Nowadays a political unrest is going on out there so what do you think, is everything going to be fine during pujo or should I think twice? As much I know local people are very friendly and humble but can't be really sure about the turmoil. Will be looking forward for your precious suggestions and will buy tickets after having it.... :) Thanks for providing such a lovely website... With regards... 
 
Mousumi Choudhury Maity (August 2013) 
 
 
 
As you are already aware, political situation in Darjeeling is not too good at the moment and quite vulnerable. Unless the stability is completely restored and life comes back to normalcy, do not plan a trip. Whether it will be all okay before Puja, nobody can predict. But chances are that it might be. You should only book your train tickets for now and be prepared to cancel it if required. Once situation comes under control, you can quickly book a hotel. Regards, 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, August 2013) 
 
 
Dear Raj. I have already booked my flight tickets from Chennai to Bagdogra (Darjeeling)(for my honeymoon), 20th Sep is my onward flight and 26th Sep is my return flight. I have booked first 3 days at Summit Grace, Darjeeling and Next 3 days at Gangtok - My Company provided guest house. I am completely confused due to the ongoing shutdown at Darjeeling. A Taxi Operator has stated that the unrest is still on and they cant help much. 
 
I would seek your suggestion or opinion on few things here. 1. Whether I Can Visit Darjeeling and Gangtok now or not. 2. If yes - Can I visit both places or should I cancel Darjeeling and proceed with Gangtok for all 6 days. 3. Any suggestion which you trust as best opinion on this scenario. 
 
Dharmesh (September 5, 2013) 
 
 
Dharmesh, 
 
The situation in Darjeeling is still quite sensitive and politically unstable. Strikes are still on although there are some talks that it should be lifted by 10th or 15th of September. Under the circumstances, if dates are inflexible for your honeymoon, then if I were you I would cancel all my bookings and look for a different place altogether for now. Otherwise, keep a close watch on the developments. The business &áhotel communities in Darjeeling (that survive on tourism) are applying pressure on the political party (Morcha) to lift the strike, because the high tourist season is approaching. Whether the party yields to this or not is to be seen. Do not make a move unless the political stability is completely restored. You can not go to Gangtok. A part of the roadway (near Teesta) is common and the agitators are stopping cars there. It is dangerous now to try approaching any place near or around Darjeeling. 
 
Hope this helps you to assess the situation, which I'm afraid is not looking good at the moment. But hopefully, it should be okay soon. 
 
Raj (September 2013) 
darjeeling-tourism.com 
 
 
Hi Raj,  
 
How does the political situation of the present unrest, look right now? do you feel it would be okay by end October, when I have planned our trip? we are reaching NJP on 28th 1pm. I have to plan an itinerary - we have till 5th November morning, when we will have to start back and reach NJP for our night train. We are planning to cover Darjeeling for 2 days, rest of the days we want to cover Gangtok and around. Still trying to research on places etc. to finalise my itinerary. Concerned about the possibility of Darjeeling being unreachable due to the unrest. Will even Gangtok be a problem?  
 
You have an amazing site. haven't seen such extensive work by one single person. What a gift to us is, what was a gift to you - of roaming Darjeeling. :p 
 
regards 
 
Biren Shah (September 2013) 
 
 
Hi Biren, 
 
Currently the situation is okay. The strike is called off till 20th Oct. So it should be okay till then unless there is a new turn of events which is unlikely. But beyond 20th is only a speculation. My guess at the moment is it should be okay till Diwali. If Darjeeling is inaccessible due to agitation, so will Gangtok be. A part of the road (at Teesta) is common and the agitators do stop cars there. So keep a watch on the developments beyond 20th Oct. If things are not okay, do not approach Darjeeling or nearby places. Regards, 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, September 2013) 
 
 
 
 
Update October 20, 2013 
The active political party in Darjeeling (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) agreed to call off the strike temporarily until 20th October 2013. Today is that last day of the deadline. So far Darjeeling has remained peaceful since the day the strike was called off in mid September. Shops and businesses have remained open during this period. 
 
Although several brave tourists have gone ahead with their original plans of visiting the hill town and many others had booked hotels after knowing the strike was temporarily withdrawn, but the hill town has seen much less inflow of tourists during this year's peak time (Puja vacation days) compared to last year. Most hotels had vacancies which is rare in such time. The hotels have seen rampant cancellations of bookings as tourists feared new turn of events in such politically unstable situation. But those who had the courage to go ahead, had the cream of vacation pleasure. 
 
But what is in store now? Nobody can say for sure. The Chief Minister of State is visiting the hills and meeting with the parties in the next few days. We will have to wait and watch the outcome. But there are good chances that peace may prevail. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update October 28, 2013 
So as I had anticipated, peace prevails in Darjeeling and is likely to continue this way at least for now. The meeting between the Morcha and the Chief Minister of State Ms Mamata Banerjee went off quite well and at the end of the meeting, the party declared that there will be 'bandh to bandh' ... meaning end to strike. This is a great news for the tourists and visitors. The party chief Bimal Gurung however later mentioned in a rally that the movement for a separate Gorkhaland statehood in Darjeeling will continue, but it will be done peacefully and without calling a strike. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update January, 2014 
There has been amicable settlement of issues between the Morcha and West Bengal State Government, at least for the time being. Note that it's mainly the Morcha party which has been battling for the statehood of Darjeeling that resulted in prolonged strikes and unrest in the hills in recent times. Mr. Bimal Gurung, head of áMorcha is joining back the GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration) as the chief (a position which he shun earlier) and mentioned that he is doing so for the interest of the common people in the hills. So peace is back in the hills, at least for now. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update March, 2014 
Like all other places in the country, Darjeeling is also gearing up for the General Elections (scheduled on April 17th in the hills). The ruling party in the state Trinamul Congress has fielded the former well known Indian footballer Baichung Bhutia as its candidate. Baichung is originally from the state of Sikkim (although presently resident of West Bengal). And that has irked the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Chief Bimal Gurung. 
 
Morcha is a strong force in Darjeeling and the Chief has vocally mentioned that he won't support Baichung in the election because Gurung thinks a local of Darjeeling should have been given the candidature. So although there is no apparent problems yet in Darjeeling, the situation is quite sensitive and a underlying cold current is flowing at the moment. 
 
So should you plan your Darjeeling visit now? Well, I am visiting Darjeeling in late March and see no problems as such. But landing up there on the day of the election may not be a good idea. Your plan for the day may or may not work, as most residents and all commercial establishments will be too engrossed with the election process and the news coming out. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update April 1, 2014 
Just returned after a long tour of Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik. Situation is quite normal and the tourist season has already picked up. However with the general election knocking at the door (on 17th April in Darjeeling), the hotel and restaurant owners are a bit tensed and hoping that it does not impact the tourist flow. After all it's the beginning of high tourist season. However large number of tourists have already booked hotel rooms and are preparing to visit Darjeeling even during the election time and beyond. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update August 2014 
It's all quiet and gearing up for the upcoming high season of October - November. Looks like the hotels, restaurants, shops and tour operators are going to have a gala time during these puja vacation days. This is quite evident from the tremendous rush I see in trains &áflights which are all going full already. So if you are planning a vacation in Darjeeling/Gangtok in October/November and haven't yet booked your hotels and tickets, it may already be a bit too late. Do it immediately to avoid disappointment. It's all set up for a great vacation! 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update 3rd November 2014 
The festive time of October has seen huge surge of tourists in Darjeeling. The hill town was beaming with happy mood, the hotels were all full, tourists flocking in from all parts of the country, stores were seen fully stocked and making good sales and queues were back again at the restaurants. Political situation in Darjeeling is now stable. November is also likely to see more than usual tourists who want to enjoy the winter. Darjeeling is slowly but steadily gearing up for Christmas and new year celebrations. More great time ahead!! 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update 23rd March 2015 
So far it has been a smooth going in Darjeeling for the past several months. Tourist interest had been steadily rising and gearing up for the up coming big season - the Summer! But the political parties in Darjeeling seem to get restless when peace prevails for long and economy starts showing signs of recovery. Why? In my opinion, it's because they are not used to it, not at least in their generation. They perhaps think that peace means nothing much is happening. More action is required!!! So what about at least one strike??? There you go... GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) has called for a 12-hour general strike on 2nd April 2015. Issue? The state administration has made it a requirement for all para-teachers to qualify in a written exam in order to teach Lepcha language in primary schools in the hills. And GJM thinks this is a deliberate interference made by the state government against GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration). So if the strike actually takes place (which is looking likely as of now), all transports between NJP/Bagdogra and Darjeeling (and therefore Sikkim) will be affected. Stores and most establishments in Darjeeling will be closed. So plan your day accordingly. Don't try to reach or come out of Darjeeling/Sikkim area on the day of the strike. Will keep you posted on further developments on this. 
 
Update 26th March 2015: The 12 hours strike on 2nd April 2015 has been postponed to 10th April 2015 because it was coinciding with Easter and therefore the sentiments of Christians in the hills were honored. 
 
Update 9th April 2015: The proposed strike of 10th April has been finally called off by GJM. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Cheers for the awesome website you have put together, and for following up on peoples queries. We got too many insights into things to be done in Darjeeling! We (4 adults) are planning a trip to Darjeeling from 2-5 October (3N 4D) and wish to confirm if there is political stability in the region? There is no news of unrest in mainstream media.. Also, is this a good time to visit? Second option we have is Gangtok... 
 
Anika (September 2015) 
 
 
Presently there is no political issue as such and influx of tourists is quite steady. By the way, a political turmoil here usually makes Gangtok also inaccessible because you can't reach Gangtok without passing through a part of Darjeeling district (the Teesta area). So no point brooding over such matter... carry on. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2015 
 
 
2016 state assembly elections are now long over, the local party GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) continues to rule Darjeeling Hills (i.e. Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong constituencies) although the party TMC has gained further strength in the state of West Bengal with vast majority votes, and has gone into its 2nd term of running the state administration. Darjeeling has settled down to normal life and there has been steady flow of tourists. There has not been any unpleasant incident reported so far in Darjeeling hills. Good to go :) 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2016 
 
 
Update June 12, 2017: 
With the state government of West Bengal proposing to introduce Bengali language in schools in the state, there is again political unrest in Darjeeling. The ruling party in Darjeeling (i.e. GJM - Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) is opposed to such introduction of Bengali language in the hills and started an agitation. They have asked the tourists to leave Darjeeling because the political situation may go out of control. As a result many vacationers have started to leave Darjeeling in scurry and moving to other nearby places like Dooars and Sikkim to complete their vacation. 
 
Note that banking systems, transport and hotels have been kept out of the purview of the indefinite agitation or strike which indicates that GJM does not want to impact tourism. However if you are planning to visit Darjeeling soon, I suggest that you wait for a while for the situation to stabilize and then plan your visit. 
 
Update June 17, 2017: 
The ruling party has called an indefinite general strike following a violent clash with the police forces. As a result now shops and transports are also affected and Darjeeling is going through a complete shutdown. It will not be prudent to plan your vacation in Darjeeling shortly. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2017 
 
 
Hi Raj. 
 
We are South African husband and wife traveling independently in India for a month. Plan was to visit Darjeeling, but that seems to be off the cards for the moment. Can you tell us if it is possible to travel to Sikkim via Kalimpong and Gangtok? We would really appreciate a response from someone in the area. The best of luck with the situation on your side. Regards from Kolkata. 
 
Louise Conradie (June 2017) 
 
 
Hi, getting to Kalimpong or Sikkim would require travelling through the Siliguri plains and Sevoke road which too are under Darjeeling district. If protesters block that route (they have done it in the past), getting to Kalimpong or Sikkim would be difficult. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2017 
 
 
Hi Raj, 
I am travelling with my family from South Africa. I am already in India and was not quite aware about the situation. I read about the unrest in Darjeeling but is the situation in the Sikkim is also same ? I already have flight Booking on 8th June for Bagdogra. Is there any alternative route to Sikkim avoiding Darjeeling altogether. Apart from monetary losses we are not sure when we'll get the chance to visit India again. So please suggest a safe alternative if there is any. 
 
Thanks and Regards 
 
Swatantra (July 2017) 
 
 
Hi, Sikkim itself has no problems. However in order to get to Sikkim by road, you need to go through Siliguri plains and Sevoke road. This is where protesters are at times creating problems. I understand that Sikkim registered vehicles are able to pass through... it's mostly the West Bengal registered vehicles that are stopped. A better alternative way is to book Helicopter service between Bagdogra and Gangtok. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2, 2017 
 
 
When can you travel to Darjeeling or Sikkim? 
 
Update July 29, 2017: 
The strike called by the hill party GJM to demand a separate state continues to be observed in the whole of Darjeeling hills including at Kalimpong. Other than essential services like hospital and pharmacies, everything else is shut down. Even the internet services have been stalled by the state for the past several weeks. 
 
There is shortage of food as the supply from the plains have been cut off. Although police security forces are still patrolling the streets, there is however no report of violence over the last several days. There is nether any indication from the hill party of calling off the strike. 
 
Actually Gangtok and therefore whole of Sikkim gets equally affected when an agitation of such scale takes place in Darjeeling. Note that Darjeeling is a district which includes areas such as Kurseong, Mirik, Siliguri etc other than Darjeeling hill town. So whenever an agitation takes place in Darjeeling, the ruling party also tends to block the highway in Siliguri that leads to Sikkim. Unfortunately that is the only way to approach Sikkim by road from Bagdogra airport or NJP railway station. The only other way is to take helicopter service between Bagdogra and Gangtok. 
 
So the big question is ... can you still plan a travel to Darjeeling area and Gangtok/Sikkim? The answer is... Immediately not. Then when? Of course when the situation gets normalized... So when is it likely to get normalized? Well it's going to take a while... no one can predict tourism when political uncertainty continues. 
 
But there is hope... the big Durga Puja festival is around the corner (in end September). This is the biggest tourist season in Darjeeling and Sikkim which contributes to their economy and to the livelihood of countless in the hills. So there will be immense pressure on the ruling party if the locals remain deprived of the opportunity. On top of that, the state government (of West Bengal) is keen to restore peace and tourism in the hills. 
 
The only block here is the ruling party GJM in Darjeeling which is banking on their support from BJP because GJM has contributed the only MP seat from Darjeeling to the BJP on hope that they can fulfill their political agenda of statehood through the central government. However the center has so far remained silent on the matter. 
 
So the real question is how long can GJM hold on to their demand through agitation as the funds are fast depleting, local public getting extremely uncomfortable as life is getting really difficult, and pressure mounting from all to restore normalcy looking into the upcoming tourist season. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 29, 2017 
 
 
The stalemate situation in Darjeeling including Kalimpong and Kurseong is still continuing with the hill party not yet calling off the strike in the hills. Except for medical stores, everything else is virtually closed in Darjeeling. Probe is underway on the two bomb blasts that took place in Darjeeling town and Kalimpong in recent past. The state government has called for a meeting with all hill parties on August 29th 2017. For the first time the ruling party (GJM) in Darjeeling has agreed to attend a meeting called by the state government to get to a mutual resolution. Note that GJM (i.e. Gorkha Janamukti Morcha) and other hill parties have been demanding for a separate state of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling district. 
 
If you are thinking of visiting Darjeeling shortly, I would suggest that you wait for the outcome of the meeting of 29th Aug and closely follow the developments thereafter before finalizing your plans. As of now, all hotels, restaurants, shops are closed and public transport virtually non-existent. Common people in Darjeeling as well as businessmen owning hotels, restaurants and stores are getting increasingly impatient as the biggest tourist season of the year (Durga Puja vacation) is knocking at the door and there is still no resolution on the matter. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 24, 2017 
 
 
Hi, 
 
We (myself, my pregnant wife and a 5 year old kid) are landing in Bagdogra airport on 7th Oct 2017 morning (around 12 noon). However, due to the ongoing political turmoil and strike in/around darjeeling, we cannot progress with original plan (Darjeeling/ Kurseong/ Kalimpong etc.); Since air tickets are non refundable and we intend to still have relaxed holidays amongst nature, can you please advise alternative places (in/around Bagdogra) where we can still spend 4 nights without much local travel. 
 
Tanuj (September 2017) 
 
 
Hi, unfortunately there are no great places around Bagdogra to spend your holidays unless you are able to travel a little. You can consider Dooars (Gorumara forest area) which is about 2 hours drive from Bagdogra. You need to book immediately as most vacationers who earlier planned for Darjeeling or Sikkim are now targeting Dooars due to troubles in Darjeeling. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 7, 2017 
 
 
Update: September 13, 2017 
The much awaited second meeting between the state government and all hill parties took place yesterday in Siliguri. While the impasse of the strike in Darjeeling has not yet been resolved, there is one thing clearly emerging.... and that is a big split in the ruling party GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) which has been spearheading the strike in the hills to effect the statehood of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling. The strike which is now in effect for nearly 90 days has been causing immense difficulties to the hill residents. 
 
The erstwhile senior leader and Chief Coordinator of GJM Binay Tamang has been ousted from the GJM party along with another party leader because they had started supporting withdrawal of the strike to restore normalcy in the hills. And this has been seen by the party as taking side with the state government. However the main party leader and accused in recent cases of explosions in the hills Bimal Gurung who has been operating from hideouts is against withdrawal of the strike. This has caused confusion and the strike is still continuing. 
 
However Binay Tamang along with state govt. have been trying to normalize life in the hills. As of now several shops have opened in various parts of Darjeeling district where locals have started ignoring the strike. State buses have started operating from Siliguri to places like Kurseong and Kalimpong with police escorts. 
 
While there are positive signs of life slowly getting back to normalcy, Darjeeling is still far from being normal, particularly when it comes to tourism. It is still not conducive for tourists to travel to this part of the hills. Even Sikkim tourism has been severely affected because a long section of the route to Sikkim passes through Darjeeling district (i.e. Siliguri). Although Bagdogra and Siliguri town themselves are quite normal, some patches of the approach road (i.e. Sevoke road) that leads to Sikkim from Siliguri remains vulnerable to disturbances. There had been cases of tourist and other vehicles been harassed on such patches. 
 
The next meeting between the state government and hill parties is scheduled on Oct 12, 2017. There is also immense pressure building from locals of Darjeeling as the main tourism season (puja time) is knocking at the door ... 90 days of strike has already taken a heavy toll on the residents ... many poor people have used up all their savings, local stores &ámarkets are all closed (although some SBI bank branches have opened but there seems to be no money in the banks), there is hardly any food around, no transport to get to other markets... and now the only hope of recovery during upcoming tourist season is also getting lost.  
 
So the big question is ... will the residents stay silent or say hell with the strike and get back to normal life themselves... the answer should emerge over the next few days.  
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 13, 2017 
 
 
Hey Raj, Been following this thread - heading to Darjeeling in a month's time. Any updates leading up to Durga Puja? Thanks for the info. Cheers 
 
Tim (September 23, 2017) 
 
 
Hi, efforts are ongoing to normalize the situation... some shops have reopened and local transports are operating in main areas of the hills with police escorts. However it's far from being normal... most hotels, restaurants and other commercial establishments are still closed, all you see on the roads are police troupes and local party workers taking out processions and demanding for a statehood. Unfortunately Darjeeling will bear a deserted look during Durga Puja. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 23, 2017 
 
 
Update: September 29, 2017 
GOOD NEWS!!!! After 104 days of shutdown, the strike called by the ruling party GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) demanding statehood has finally ended effective 6am 27th September 2017. Many say that the party was virtually running out of choice but to call off the strike because the residents were no more able to take the misery... slowly they were opening up shops on their own defying the strike. GJM it seems was waiting for an appropriate opportunity to call off the strike and give an impression that they could achieve something out of this prolonged shutdown. 
 
So what did GJM achieve? The Union Home Minister has indicated that he would call for a tripartite meeting between the center, the state and GJM of Darjeeling. This has created an outlet for GJM to say that some positive discussions about statehood is likely to take place in such meeting... So GJM seems to have achieved only a meeting at the cost of 104 days of shutdown in the hills causing immense inconvenience to hundreds &áthousands of residents and dashing hopes of countless tourists who planned a vacation here. 
 
So the strike has now been lifted.... what does that mean for tourists? Everything hunky dory? There is a flurry of activities since Wednesday Sept 27. Shops, restaurants and other commercial establishments including banks are opening up in hurry to get back into normal life. Even hotels have started opening up. Cabs and other transports have started operating, and supplies from the plains have started arriving. So everything right is happening. 
 
However 104 days of shutdown has taken its toll... many locals have been living on their last savings having eaten up most of their capital for small businesses, many workers and staff of hotels &árestaurants have moved to Assam and other neighboring areas for jobs, most tour &áadventure activity operators cancelled their tour bookings and focussed on places like Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim trying desperately to make up for such huge losses.... and lot more of such sad stories which Darjeeling hardly deserved. 
 
It'll take a while for normalcy to completely return to Darjeeling. But I would imagine that would be faster than usual because both residents and tourists need that faster than ever. So if you want to visit Darjeeling... YOU CAN CERTAINLY PLAN FOR IT NOW ... it should be all okay shortly. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 29, 2017 
 
 
Update: October 21, 2017 
Situation remains quite normal in Darjeeling after the strike has been withdrawn. All shops, restaurants and several hotels have already opened up. But there are hardly any tourists. But the good news is many are already planning for a vacation in Darjeeling and Sikkim in winter. Most attractions are open... the Toy Train is scheduled to resume its full length operation (between NJP and Darjeeling) starting October 25th. 
 
All said and done, there is a little uncertainty hanging over the horizon. Bimal Gurung, the chief of ruling party Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) who faces several charges of arrest, remains in hiding. A sub-inspector of police was recently killed in a gunshot exchange while police were trying to nab Gurung from one of his hideouts near the bank of the river Little Rangeet. Large amount of ammunitions have been recovered from his campsite indicating possibility of insurgency. Gurung could manage to flee but has declared over a voice message that he will make a come back. With the state police keeping stranglehold on the matter, whether he can actually do so is a big question... but his intent has left the locals a bit uncomfortable. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 21, 2017 
 
 
Update: November 14, 2017 
Another 3 weeks have passed in Darjeeling and Sikkim without an untoward incident. Life in the hills has gradually come to terms and quickly settling down. All residents are busy in recovering the losses they made during the prolonged strike in the hills. Tourist interest in Darjeeling &áSikkim is also growing rapidly as evident from the number of queries I am receiving through this website. I can say that many are already planning for a great winter outing in the hills. 
 
As far as the political situation is concerned, the ruling party chief Bimal Gurung has remained in the hiding fearing an arrest if traced. There are several charges made against him by the state police including serious charges under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 
 
Meanwhile a leader from one of his faction groups - Binay Tamang has been made the head of GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration, a body which runs the administration of Darjeeling) and this has been facilitated by the State Govt to marginalize the absconding chief. And this move seems to be working well as the new leader has taken a path of non-violence to pursue the goal of statehood in Darjeeling. Support base for Binay Tamang is increasing in the hills and Bimal Gurung seems to be getting sidelined with time. The cases against Gurung are being actively probed by CID (Crime Investigation Department controlled by the state) while NIA (National Investigation Agency appointed by the Center) is also involved in the matter. 
 
Can Gurung still make a comeback and stir up the hills again? Seems unlikely. But over the past decade his support base had become substantial, and as long as that exists, he will certainly keep hoping to make a comeback. But as far as tourists are concerned, they can certainly plan a trip to Darjeeling and Sikkim. The hospitality industry and the locals would welcome that as ever. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update: November 22, 2017 
There are now new leaders in the hill party GJM of Darjeeling. On 21st November in a central committee meeting, the party members have suspended the absconding chief Bimal Gurung from the party for six months as well his wife who was heading the women's wing of the party. 
 
Binay Tamang has been elected as the new President and Anit Thapa as the new General Secretary of the party. Both also head the present GTA (the body that runs the administration of Darjeeling district in coordination with the state). 
 
So with all these changes, all have heaved a sigh of relief because both these new leaders want to pursue peace in the hills which will be great for the development of Darjeeling and of course tourism. So if you like to enjoy winter in Darjeeling and Sikkim with marvelous views of Kanchenjunga snow peaks, do not delay your plans. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update: February 2, 2018 
Since I wrote last time in November 2017, there has been no political disturbance or untoward incidents in Darjeeling or its surrounding areas. Peace has returned to the hills. All tourist attractions including Toy Train Joy Rides, hotels and restaurants are open as usual. Those who have been visiting are having a special time in terms of being able to enjoy Darjeeling without the typical tourist crowd. Hundreds of others are already planning to visit during March to May as I can understand from the numerous messages I am receiving from viewers. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
Update: April 18, 2019, 12:08am 
 
It's been a long time when Darjeeling has remained calm during the elections. Tourists kept pouring in, and the people of Darjeeling have all been exceptionally calm, and so have been the business establishments. I personally think the choice is clear in Darjeeling... everybody is tired of nonsense and wants development, and like to move on with life... whoever wins, must restore Darjeeling to its past glory... albeit as an integral part of India. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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