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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Bimal Gurung, Ajoy Edwards, BJP join to fight BGPM & Trinamul Congress

Alliance has been forged mainly for July 8 elections to gram panchayats and panchayat samitis

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 12.06.23, 05:38 AM
United Gorkha Alliance leaders address the press after their meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday

United Gorkha Alliance leaders address the press after their meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the Hamro Party (HP) and a number of other political outfits in the Darjeeling hills on Sunday joined hands, along with the BJP, to launch a new front to take on the unofficial alliance between the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) and the Trinamul Congress in the July 8 panchayat elections.

Apart from the Morcha led by Bimal Gurung and the HP headed by Ajoy Edwards, the United Gorkha Alliance has the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM), Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha and SUMETI Mukti Morcha as constituents.

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The alliance has been forged mainly for the July 8 elections to gram panchayats and panchayat samitis. The rural polls will be held in the Darjeeling hills after a gap of 22 years.

"This is an alliance for Gorkha unity and against corruption and misrule of Trinamul and its allies in the Darjeeling hills," Darjeeling BJP MP Raju Bista said after a meeting of the alliance's constituents at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club on Sunday.

The Morcha had been an ally of the BJP for 11 years till 2020.

Leaders of different parties of the alliance said they had agreed "to compromise" and "accommodate" candidates based on their winnability.

However, a BGPM leader said: "Choosing a consensus candidate is easier said than done when the time to file nominations is running out and so many parties are involved."

The last date to file nominations will be June 15. There are 112 gram panchayat and nine panchayat samitis in the hills.

The coalition has decided that BJP candidates will contest the elections on the lotus symbol, while the rest of the candidates will contest on one selected symbol.

The BGPM has been allotted a reserved symbol of two candles.

Even though the alliance leaders said they had come together on the plank of the Gorkha unity, the Gorkhaland issue wouldn't be raised in the rural elections.

"Corruption and other day-to-day issues will be highlighted in the campaign. The issue of a 'permanent political solution' and Gorkhaland is in its own place," said Bista.

The BJP is under pressure in the hills for its failure to deliver on the Lok Sabha poll promise of finding a "permanent political solution".

Observers say the United Gorkha Alliance will definitely provide a tight contest to the BGPM and Trinamul in some places.

The BGPM and Trinamul will not go in for an official tie-up but will work on an understanding, sources said.

"The BGPM and Trinamul will face competition in many seats from the new alliance," said an observer, who, however, added that the BGPM had an edge by virtue of being the party in power at the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

GTA chief executive and BGPM president Anit Thapa remained unfazed by the Opposition unity.

"We are confident of victory as we have worked for the people without making false assurances."

The rural polls were not held in the hills for long because of opposition from GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh who maintained that the powers and functions of panchayat samitis would overlap with those of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

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