Siliguri, Nov. 14: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today welcomed a move by the tribal group led by John Barla to tie up with Trinamul for the panchayat polls, saying the alliance would check the split in votes.
“We will always welcome a tie-up between Trinamul and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha led by Barla. When a section of tribal people led by Barla quit the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad and joined the JMM, the Morcha and the tribal group decided to take up all activities in the Dooars together,” said Samuel Gurung, a GTA executive member from Kalimpong.
Samuel is also the Morcha central committee member who looks after the organisation in the Dooars.
“If Trinamul also works with us (the JMM-Morcha alliance), it would help augment our support base in the Dooars ahead of the panchayat polls,” he said.
Sources said the Morcha, which lost a sizeable base in the Dooars after the Justice Sen committee kept the GTA’s jurisdiction largely confined to the hills, had little choice but to accept the JMM-Trinamul alliance if it is forged.
Yesterday, at a meeting in Mongpong, Barla and Trinamul minister Gautam Deb are believed to have discussed the panchayat elections.
Samuel said Trinamul was welcome to become a part of the alliance because it had always taken up the cause of the people of the Dooars.
“Whenever we demanded an improvement in the socio-economic conditions of the people in the Dooars, infrastructure development, educational and employment opportunities and better communication, Trinamul stood by us. The Trinamul-led state government has also sorted out some of the issues raised by the people. I can say there is no contradiction between the agendas and programmes of the JMM-Morcha combine and Trinamul.”
Morcha insiders said a tie-up with Trinamul would lead to the consolidation of votes in the panchayat elections and thus, a defeat of the rivals — the Congress and the Left.
“The Morcha might have invited criticism in recent months for being inactive in the plains and foothills. But the party still has its trade union has units in a number of tea gardens. Nobody can write off the Gorkhas in the Dooars. If the Gorkha and tribal parties can contest the polls together with Trinamul, there will be minimum number of candidates and no confusion among the people. The alliance will win a large chunk of the votes,” said a Morcha leader.
Observers said the Morcha had welcomed the alliance between the Barla group and Trinamul keeping in mind two goals.
“First, the Morcha hopes the alliance will help the party stop the erosion of its base in the Dooars. The people in the Dooars were upset with the exclusion of their areas from the purview of the GTA and the Morcha’s loss of interest in the region. Second, the Morcha calculated that if the maximum number of seats are won, panchayats can meet the demands for roads, houses, better health care and electricity and thus minimise the resentment among the people,” an observer said.