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Trinamul base claim

Darjeeling, Aug. 5: Hill Trinamul leaders today said they wanted to “tell their leader ship in Calcutta” that the votes cast in favour of Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate Bhaichung Bhutia were not only from the Lepchas, Tamangs and GNLF supporters but also from the ruling party.

Rajen Mukhia, president of Darjeeling district (hill) Trinamul, said: “We want to tell the leadership that the votes polled by Bhaichung in the Lok Sabha elections were not just from the Lepcha, Tamang (communities) and GNLF. Our party also has a base in the hills. They (the leadership in Calcutta) think that the party has not managed to garner substantial votes on its own.”

Mamata Banerjee had formed development boards for the Lepchas and Tamangs and the initiatives are believed to have attracted votes from the two communities.

Bhaichung had bagged around 90,000 votes from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong Assembly segments. “A large number of votes of the 90,000 was from our party cadres,” Mukhia told journalists after a meeting with hill party leaders here.

BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia won the Darjeeling seat by around 2 lakh votes. He was backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.