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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Gorkhaland is a dream for us, but parties reduce it to poll issue: BGPM chief Anit Thapa

Thapa, who is also the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), was in Sukna to campaign for Gopal Lama, a BGPM leader who is contesting from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat on the symbol of the Trinamool Congress

Bireswar Banerjee Siliguri Published 18.04.24, 12:33 PM
Anit Thapa participates in a Ram Navami march in Kurseong on Wednesday.

Anit Thapa participates in a Ram Navami march in Kurseong on Wednesday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Bharatiya Gorkha Parajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) chief Anit Thapa on Wednesday said Gorkhaland was the dream of every member of the community and rued that the demand for the new state was being reduced to an election issue by political parties.

Thapa, who is also the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), was in Sukna to campaign for Gopal Lama, a BGPM leader who is contesting from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat on the symbol of the Trinamool Congress.

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Sukna is 10km from Siliguri.

“Gorkhaland is a dream of every Gorkha and not any party. I had spent six months in different correctional homes in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri when our previous leaders in the hills had organised movements to achieve the demand. However, during every election, people try to exploit our sentiments and misguide us to get votes,” said Thapa.

“We have waited for a long time for Gorkhaland. But our party will never make it an issue in any election,” he added.

In recent months, this is the first time that Thapa has spoken on Gorkhaland, which, observers feel, is a message to the residents of the Darjeeling hills that the BJP rakes up the statehood issue to stoke up their emotions.

Darjeeling will vote on April 26.

Thapa appealed to people to cast their votes in favour of Lama who is from the region where he had served in different administrative posts under the state government.

“We cannot win the election by getting only support from three Assembly constituencies in the Darjeeling hills. We have to consolidate our support base in the plains (where four Assembly segments are located). The TMC has granted its symbol to our candidate and promised support in the foothills,” said Thapa.

Trinamool has never won the Darjeeling seat. The BJP has bagged it thrice since 2009. In 2019, BJP's Raju Bista defeated Trinamul nominee Amar Singh Rai by a margin of over four lakh votes.

The BJP has fielded Bista again in Darjeeling.

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