A new political equation is developing in Darjeeling ahead of the rural polls likely to be held soon in the hills after a gap of 22 years.
Sources said that members of the Gorkha Swabhiman Sangharsha would fan across the rural areas from next week to create awareness of the alleged “corruption” in the implementation of the Rs 1,500 crore Jal Jeevan Mission in Darjeeling hills.
The Gorkha Swabhiman Sangharsha was formed when Anit Thapa’s party the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) triggered a defection and wrested the Darjeeling municipality from Hamro Party in December.
A platform created by Hamro Party, Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and former Trinamul leader Binay Tamang, the Sangharsha also includes organisations not attached to any political party.
“Members of the Gorkha Swabhiman Sangharsha will, starting next week, cover as many villagers as possible in the hills to create awareness of the alleged corruption in the Jal Jeevan Mission jobs,” said a source.
“There is a clear indication that this group is trying to work in a focused manner before the rural polls,” said an observer.
Leaders of the Hamro Party and the Morcha have already had their first round of meetings, said a source.
While Hamro Party-Morcha are likely to go for a poll understanding, the BJP and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) are already in an alliance. The two alliances will be fighting it out with the BGPM– Trinamul combine.
“All roads are being paved for a triangular fight in the rural polls in Darjeeling,” said an observer.
The BJP, the GNLF and the Morcha did not officially fight the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) election last year as they are opposed to the hill body in principle.
“This year all these parties will be contesting the rural elections,” said an observer.
“Even if the BGPM and Trinamul do not announce a formal alliance, it is a foregone conclusion that these two parties will not do anything to harm the prospects of each other’s candidates,” said an observer.
During the Darjeeling municipality elections in February last year, Trinamul and Bimal Gurung’s party were in an alliance.
However, of late, the Gurung has distanced himself from Trinamul.
The BGPM has made a headstart in the campaign for the rural polls. It is currently holding a series of workers’ meetings across the hills that are being attended by senior leaders, including Anit Thapa and general secretary Amar Lama.