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Hill charge: Goa holiday, cash to lure councillors

Ajoy Edwards while making the allegation didn’t name the people who allegedly made the offers
Ajoy Edwards
Ajoy Edwards
File Picture

Vivek Chhetri   |   Darjeeling   |   Published 15.05.22, 01:02 AM

Ajoy Edwards, the president of Hamro Party that recently won the Darjeeling municipality elections, alleged on Saturday that five of his party’s ward councillors were lured with sums up to Rs 1 crore and a free holiday in Goa to resign from the party.

He did not name the people who allegedly made these offers but added: “Everyone in Darjeeling can easily guess which party is trying to play foul.”

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Edwards said these attempts were the fallout of the new Darjeeling municipality issuing notices to more than 20 constructions that had flouted building norms in town.

“Following our strict actions, more than Rs 100 crore is at stake. For these people, spending Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore is not much. However, our councillors have come out to bring about real change and I have full faith in them,” he said.

In the 32-ward Darjeeling municipality, Hamro Party won in 18, followed by Anit Thapa’s Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha in nine, Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in three and Trinamul in two .

Edwards said that a phone call was made by a “political leader”, whose last two digits of the phone number were 29, to a Hamro Party councillors last Sunday. “Three people met the councillors at Lama restaurant at Darjeeling More in Siliguri on Tuesday. They immediately offered Rs 2 lakh and said that on resigning from the party Rs 28 lakh would be given,” alleged Edwards.

It was also suggested that following the resignation, the councillor could choose to go to Goa for a month-long holiday, all expenses paid, “until things settled”.

Edwards said another councillor of his party was approached in the Darjeeling municipality office with the “same package.” Two other councillors were contacted over phone while the fifth was approached at home.

Of the five councillors, three were offered Rs 30 lakh, one Rs 70 lakh and another Rs 1 crore, alleged Edwards. All had received the Goa holiday offer, he added.

The Hamro Party chief also said that his ward councillors informed him that those making the offers had done their “homework well” and knew everything about them and their families.

He said he was not revealing names now as he was consulting lawyers to find out if the proofs they had were sufficient to press criminal charges. “We are currently consulting with our lawyers to find out if the proofs we have are enough to press criminal charges,” he said.

He also claimed that in the past, buildings were built even before plans were sanctioned.

Next month, Darjeeling hills will go for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections. It is largely perceived that the party which wins will dominate hill politics.

Bimal Gurung letter

Bimal Gurung, president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Saturday wrote to chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking bilateral talks before GTA elections are held.

Earlier, the party had submitted a memorandum of proposal to the chief minister seeking all provisions of the 2011 GTA memorandum of agreement be implemented before the elections.

“My past records reveal that my commitments towards my political partners have always been unwavering, unfaltering and whole-hearted and I strongly believe and trust that your goodself will not allow any defacement or weakening of such alliance,” Gurung has written in the letter.

The Morcha has not fared well either in the Bengal Assembly elections. It came third in all three hill seats of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, and also fared miserably in the recent Darjeeling municipality elections.

Bebo enjoys her Kalimpong shoot with son Jeh

Kareena Kapoor Khan with her younger son Jeh in Kalimpong where the actress is shooting for an untitled film directed by Sujoy Ghosh. On Saturday, Kareena took to Instagram to share the picture with the caption: “Double whammy!! Getting ready with the best man for company… DAY-4-KALIMPONG.” Kareena, who arrived in Kalimpong on May 10, will be staying here for a fortnight along with her co-stars Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma.



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