The Telegraph
Thursday , March 13 , 2014
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Gurung’s hill vote barb for Bhaichung

Bagdogra, March 12: Bimal Gurung today said Bhaichung Bhutia, the Trinamul candidate for Darjeeling, wouldn’t garner more than 15,000 votes in the hills and the comprehensive development of Bengal was possible only if Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.

“Just like the CPM which lost to us (the BJP-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alliance) in Darjeeling in 2009, we will defeat Trinamul in the coming Lok Sabha polls. Now that the Morcha and the BJP have forged an alliance, Trinamul will perform abysmally in the hills. We are not considering Trinamul or any other party even as a contender in the election,” the Morcha president said at the Bagdogra airport on his return from New Delhi.

“Let me iterate that Bhaichung Bhutia will not get more than 15,000 votes in the hills,” he added.

The hill vote has traditionally decided the winner of the Darjeeling seat because the voters there poll for one candidate en bloc.

Although the plains areas have more voters, the voting is fractured.

Gurung said the Morcha had tied up with the BJP because of the latter’s support for Gorkhaland.

“Back in 2009, we had supported Jaswant Singh as the BJP candidate. He was the first Parliamentarian to mention the demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland on the floor of Lok Sabha since Independence. We have decided to support the BJP again appreciating the proactive stance of Singh and his party.”

The Morcha chief also rooted for Modi. “Further, Bengal is lagging behind in development and the Morcha sincerely feels comprehensive growth across the state is possible only if Narendra Modi is elected the Prime Minister,” Gurung said.

The GTA Sabha chief said the Morcha would put its best efforts to ensure that Gorkha votes were cast in favour of the BJP in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri seats and other parts of the country.

The BJP candidate for Darjeeling may be declared tomorrow.