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Since 1st March, 1999
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MP lands with Gorkhaland on lips

Siliguri, May 21: The newly elected Darjeeling MP, Jaswant Singh, arrived here today, ending all speculations spread by his rivals that the BJP leader would not return to the hills after his win.

After disembarking from a chartered flight that carried his family members as well, Singh reiterated that he would continue to strive for the formation of Gorkhaland — the key issue that had catapulted him to the Lok Sabha, defeating Jibesh Sarkar of the CPM, by 2,53,289 votes.

“I feel like returning home after several days. It is nice to be among the people of the Darjeeling hills again,” he said during a brief interaction with the media persons at Bagdogra Airport around 11am.

When the result of the general election was announced on May 16, Singh was not in the constituency. His absence was a weapon for the CPM, which questioned the BJP leader’s sincerity in achieving Gorkhaland.

“We doubt how much effective Singh will be in achieving the demand of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. As he has not even collected his certificate of win from the district magistrate, we think that he will not return to the hills at all,” said Bengal urban development affairs minister and CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya.

Singh’s arrival gave enough reason for 150-odd Morcha supporters present at the airport to go into celebration mood.

“I will be sitting on the Opposition bench in Parliament. But my fight for the creation of Gorkhaland will go on,” Jaswant said. Asked about the dismal performance of the BJP, he said: “It is just a matter of time before the party is revived.”

The Morcha leaders and supporters, mostly from the Siliguri outskirts, shouted slogans as Jaswant boarded a vehicle bound for the hills. The motorcade of five vehicles zipped out of the airport, heading for Kalimpong.

The MP is scheduled to attend two meetings in Kalimpong and Darjeeling tomorrow and Saturday.

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