Opp. split boon for GNLF

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Darjeeling
  • Published 30.12.03
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Darjeeling, Nov. 30: The formation of the six-party People’s Democratic Front to challenge the might of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) in the coming DGHC election, has come as blessing in disguise for the ruling party.

With the Opposition split into two camps, namely the PDF and the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), the GNLF can hope to tighten its stranglehold on hill politics.

The Gorkha Democratic Front, CPRM, GNLF(C), Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, Congress (Hills) and the BJP, had announced the formation of an alliance a couple of months ago but had deferred the christening of the front and announcing its election programme for some time.

It was widely thought that the United Front, (as the PDF grouping was previously called), was trying to rope in other parties, chiefly the CPM, to fight the GNLF.

D.S. Bomzon, spokesman of the CPRM, had earlier said: “We have kept our doors open to the CPM and we will invite them to join the front.”

The dream of an united Opposition effort to dislodge the GNLF, however, received a setback when the CPM went ahead and floated the Left Democratic Front with other Left partners in the hills. Asok Bhattacharya, convenor of the LDF had at that time invited the Opposition parties to join their front. Bhattacharya, however, said the LDF could not welcome the BJP and the Congress (Hills) to join it.

The decision of the LDF to leave out the Congress (hills) and the BJP from its ambit seems to have been a major stumbling block in forging Opposition unity in the hills to take on the might of the GNLF.

In the current scenario, the GNLF is set to directly benefit from the split in opposition votes which is now imminent.

Asok Bhatacharya had said that the only alternative to the GNLF in the hills was the Left Front, because of its strong grassroots support in the region.

It is commonly believed that apart from the CPRM and the GNLF(C), most other parties in the PDF, have a negligible support base. Even then the GNLF (C) is working to expand organisationally in the hills as the party was formed only a year ago. It is not yet known whether the party has found support at the grassroots level at this juncture.

Another factor that could go against the Opposition, is the fact that both the CPM and the CPRM are trying to woo the same voters as the CPRM has been formed after a split in the CPM. This too will inevitably help the GNLF by further splitting the Opposition vote.