The Telegraph
Monday , March 10 , 2014
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CPM plan for Darjeeling

Siliguri, March 9: The CPM today said the party would moot an “alternative proposal” for the development of the hills and the plains without dividing Bengal and canvass for its candidate in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat with the new plan.

Asok Bhattacharya, a former CPM minister and the convenor of the Darjeeling district Left Front, said the “proposal” would work out better than the GTA Sabha and the party would approach all outfits based in the Darjeeling hills for their support.

“We (CPM) are going to contest the coming parliament election in Darjeeling with an alternative proposal, which will be disclosed on March 12 after the party’s district committee meeting. We will approach all hill-based political parties, including the (Gorkha Janmukti) Morcha and the GNLF, with a request for their backing for the proposal,” Bhattacharya told journalists at Anil Biswas Bhavan, the district office of the CPM in Siliguri.

Although the former minister didn’t disclose the exact nature of the proposal, he said it would ensure the development of Darjeeling district as a whole. “The proposal is aimed at the development of Darjeeling district by keeping the hills and plains united with some concrete steps. The proposal will be better than the existing GTA Sabha for development and won’t need the division of the state,” said Bhattacharya.

The Left Front has already launched its campaign for CPM candidate for Darjeeling, Saman Pathak.

Bhattacharya said footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, the Trinamul Congress nominee for Darjeeling, had agreed to the contest without understanding the politics of the constituency.

“We have nothing against him (Bhutia) as we still consider him as an iconic footballer of the country and personally, I have good relations with him. I want to say this is a contest of principle. He is contesting without having any knowledge of the politics of the region. The Darjeeling seat is very important by its nature as there are so many issues like regional autonomy, ethnic identity and maintaining unity between the plains and the hills,” said Bhattacharya.

Observers said the biggest challenge for the Left would be to ensure that Bhutia was not targeted personally in the campaign because of his popularity.